The Cleveland Foundation Presents CREATIVE FUSION Artists and Residential Developments

An artist’s residency, if it is defined by a finite (and, face it, usually short) period of time, can only have lasting impact if the community is engaged, and if relationships are formed, and if both the artist and the host community learn something in the process.

Since last fall, we’ve been following the Madison Residents—a group of national, international, and Northeast Ohio-based artists all associated with FRONT International Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art and supported by the Cleveland Foundation through its Creative Fusion program. They’ve been using as their base the Madison Building—a former medical office building on East 105th Street in Glenville, renovated with apartments and common activity space as part of the PNC Glenville Arts Campus. The building gives both out-of-town artists and Northeast Ohio artists a home in Glenville, by which to get familiar with the neighborhood and reach out to its residents to inform work they make as part of FRONT.

Our connection to the artists of Northeast Ohio makes the cohort of artists from this region of special interest, and so in this issue of CAN—our last regular issue before FRONT International opens July 14—we are revisiting the local cohort of Madison Residents for an update on their work since last fall.

Their lasting impact is built in, because Cleveland is their home town. But it extends to the nature of the work that they are doing. Julie Patton, for example, is of the neighborhood. She lives and works in a grand apartment building on East Boulevard, which will be the site of her installation—The Painted Closet of Virgie Ezelle Patton & Other Wings. Virgie Ezelle Patton is her late mother—herself an acclaimed painter—and the exhibit will show creative continuity with the neighborhood’s history.

Meanwhile Dale Goode will create a large-scale installation in a vacant lot at East 112th Street and Ashbury. And Elizabeth Emery has been engaging the neighborhood by seeking out female athletes who live there to incorporate their stories and perspectives in a podcast addressing gender inequity in sports—a long-term interest for the artist, who was once a professional bicycle racer, and hosts the ongoing Hear Her Sports podcast, a talk show with women athletes. Read on for more examples and insights into this cohort of artists and how their work relates to FRONT’s theme, An American City.

But if there is anything we have learned from Creative Fusion, it is that artist residencies can have a lasting impact that extends beyond artistic practice. On the following pages you’ll also meet Sanjib Bhattacharya, a dancer from Calcutta, India, and Meng-Hsuan Wu, a visual artist from Taipei, Taiwan. Both were Creative Fusion residents hosted by the Rainey Institute, and both, independently, have decided to make Cleveland their home. They’re working with students through Rainey and other organizations and using affordable Cleveland as a base for continual explorations of artistic possibility.

Meng’s and Sanjib’s work will be felt by Cleveland students and their families as they explore creativity through these artistic media. And all will have the opportunity to get to know Glenville and the works of the Madison Residents Creative Fusion cohort as they unveil their work during FRONT International, opening July 14. The following pages give you a preview.

—Michael Gill