Creative Fusion 2018: Data ARTS EDITION


Creative Fusion Data Edition (CFDE) is the latest version of the Creative Fusion program focusing on the intersection between data and art. The purpose of CFDE is to link art, data, and technology to help better-illuminate Cleveland’s complex social problems. Leveraging data visualization tools, expertise, and software, three local artists, and three international artists will examine environmental health data
in Cleveland, and craft compelling visual art from the data leading to critical community dialogue, and a strengthened bond between the technology and art sectors in Cleveland. The artists will question how well we understand and use neighborhood data—its relevance, its functionality, reliability—and its limitations.
Technology has made the world smaller, and in some ways, more connected. In practical terms, we hope to capitalize on a unique opportunity broaden our network across national (and natural) boundaries. Furthermore, we anticipate that this partnership will elevate the work of HackCLE’s multidisciplinary coalition of designers, technologist, civic innovators, activists, and community builders
(of all varieties). Yet in aspirational terms, this partnership has the potential to accomplish much more. We believe The Artist’s responsibility—in every community—should be to challenge the status quo; to propose audacious ideas; to imagine a world of new possibilities; and to inspire us to follow their example.
Whether the problem is environmental vulnerability, health disparity, or housing insecurity, the solutions we seek will emerge from the creative collision of new ideas, talents, and perspectives. We hope that the Creative Fusion 2018 cohort will force us to question how well we understand the capacity of data—its relevance, its functionality, reliability—and its limitations. We hope that this experience will also challenge us to think differently about who we consider to be an artist, a data
scientist, and/or an activist. Finally, we hope that this experience will encourage our community to reimagine the boundless potential of data to make our city smarter, more equitable, more inclusive and even more beautiful.

Background – Creative Fusion

In 2008, the Cleveland Foundation created an unprecedented international artist residency program that has brought more than 85 foreign artists to Cleveland. Each year, Creative Fusion brings approximately a dozen accomplished or rapidly rising artists from around the world and from under-represented cultures to Cleveland. In recent years, Creative Fusion welcomed incredible international artists from Cuba, Armenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Chile, Iran, Taiwan, Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand, Brazil,
Senegal, Egypt, Pakistan, and South Africa from a variety of art forms, including painting, multimedia installations, printmaking, sculpture, ballet, experimental dance, and photography. Over the past year, staff has made a few strategic changes to Creative Fusion to build on the strengths of the program with the goal of creating higher visibility, alignment in the community and additional lasting impact. The four major changes are:

1. Creating more visibility for the program and the artists.
2. Providing more flexibility in the selection of the type of host organizations that can participate.
3. Including local artists
4. Designing each cohort for more impact in Cleveland.
One of the biggest changes to the program is that we now develop concentrations for each cohort that centers around opportunities emerging in the Cleveland community and issues and opportunities globally. For example, staff looks for opportunities to:
 Select artists all from one country
 Have artists all in one medium (all theater, visual arts, photography, authors, dance, etc.)
 Locate the artist all in one neighborhood (place based)
 Select the artists based on a theme or a current global issue (for example: all refugee artists or
artists dealing with social justice)

CFDE18 Focus: Environmental Justice

Cleveland faces a number of urgent challenges that put environmental and human health at risk. Far too many communities are trapped in a cycle of stagnation or decline, characterized most visibly by blight and ecological degradation. These conditions propagate inequalities in income, education, health, and opportunity at the individual citizen level, mostly along deep-seated and enduring racial lines.
Furthermore, environmental stress factors—such as extreme heat events, intense storms, changes in precipitation timing and quantity, high amounts of impervious surfaces, a sparse tree canopy, and an aging sewer infrastructure—only exacerbate existing threats to vitality of Cleveland’s neighborhoods.
Why Environmental Justice vs Environmental Health?
In order to address the multidimensional challenges facing Cleveland’s neighborhoods, we must first clarify the terms we use to describe each factor. We will then develop and prototype solutions—in this case, data-informed, arts-inspired solutions—designed to achieve measurable impact. Included below
are a few key terms that will guide our work.
 Environmental health is the branch of public health that: focuses on the relationships between people and their environment; promotes human health and well-being; and fosters healthy and safe communities. Environmental health is a key part of any comprehensive public health system. The field works to advance policies and programs to reduce chemical and other environmental exposures in air, water, soil and food to protect people and provide communities with healthier environments.
 Environmental racism is the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color. 
Environmental equity: Poison people equally | Environmental justice: Stop poisoning people, period.
Environmental justice is the movement's response to environmental racism. "Environmental equity" is not environmental justice. "Environmental equity" is the government's response to the demands of the environmental justice movement. Government agencies, like the EPA, have been coopting the movement by redefining environmental justice as "fair treatment and meaningful involvement, something they consistently fail to accomplish, but which also falls far short of the environmental justice vision. The environmental justice movement isn't seeking to simply redistribute environmental harms, but to abolish them. (source: Energy Justice Network: Web Resources for Environmental Justice Activists)


We believe that this year’s Creative Fusion 2018: Data Arts edition presents a unique opportunity to leverage the momentum of three dynamic community engagement strategies—Climate Resilience &Urban Opportunity Initiative; Racial Equity & Inclusion (Year of Deeper Awareness 2018); Equitable Civic
Engagement—to model a new and innovative approach to comprehensive community development.
In 2018, HackCLE will commence its People-Centered Civic Tech Solutions Design & Implementation Project. We are confident that the results will be instructive for the way our community of civic innovators addresses deeply complex social issues, such as Environmental Health. Modeled after ScopeAThon’s that have taken place in cities across the country, we will design and lead a community
initiative to identify and design tech-oriented strategies and products to address problems in the areas of criminal justice reform and digital equity within workforce development. We will facilitate a discussion series to gather a range of perspectives on the outcomes that matter most to Cleveland residents and to ensure the problem statements identified can elicit feasible projects focused on
improving community outcomes.
In service to our collective vision for the Creative Fusion 2018 cohort, we will leverage existing programming partnerships: climate scientists, urban planners, and resident leaders engaged in the Climate Resiliency & Urban Opportunity Initiative; a citywide network of grassroots and advocacy organizations committed to equitable civic engagement; and the nearly 1500 concerned citizens that have participated in the Year of Awareness Building, including representatives of local academic institutions, museums, foundations, think-tanks, and community based organizations.

Project Partners

Hack Cleveland (“HackCLE”) is committed to co-designing more innovative strategies that harness the potential of technology to increase civic engagement, affect policy, and inspire cultural change in the greater Cleveland area. We are working collective focused on advancing social justice through modeling our vision of an open, inclusive and affirming community. We envision a thriving city that is made stronger by confronting and addressing systemic injustices and inequities as a moral and economic imperative.

Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) is a local community development funding intermediary with exactly 30 years of experience investing in community revitalization work in the City of Cleveland. Founded in 1988, CNP serves a unique function as the only local intermediary in the region and is proud to be nationally highlighted as a leader for engaging in best practices in various facets of nonprofit
programming. Our vision is for all of Cleveland’s neighborhoods to be attractive, vibrant, and inclusive communities where together, people from diverse incomes, races, and generations thrive, prosper, and choose to live, learn, work, invest, and play.
 Equitable Civic Engagement
 Climate Resilience x Urban Opportunity


Many communities that were built on a 20th century manufacturing base now face the challenge of transitioning to a digital economy. Communities everywhere need strategies and practical programming that support their transition. That’s why DigitalC was formed. As a civic tech collaboration, we catalyze innovative technology for community impact. Led by a diverse team with experience in technology, startups, strategy, business and civic tech, we partner with business, technology and civic leaders to provide strategies and programs so that communities can navigate a pathway that enables 21st century opportunities for all.
To realize this goal, we engage technology leaders to leverage their knowledge for the civic agenda; accelerate the access, adoption and use of data-driven solutions; and develop programs such as intentional, inclusive neighborhoods where innovators can live, work and play. Founded in Cleveland, Ohio, we aspire to be a leading advocate for the digital transformation of communities across the nation.
ThirdSpace Action Lab
ThirdSpace Action Lab was created to disrupt the vicious cycle of disinvestment and displacement that negatively impacts the vitality of low-income communities of color. We are a grassroots research, strategy & design cooperative, dedicated to prototyping creative place-based solutions to complex socioeconomic problems. We are institutional and community organizers, turning multidisciplinary research into evidence-based strategies; and activating “third places” to co-creating more liberated spaces for people of color.

Project Timeline

**insert updated programming/project schedule**


The CreativeFusion Data Arts Edition is committed to galvanizing the resources of our community to reinvigorate and sustain our local environmental justice movement. We will build on the legacy of past movements and will use best practices that have emerged as a guide for local organizing.
Principles of Environmental Justice
As an example, we have included the following principles of Environmental Justice drafted and adopted by delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington DC. Since then, the Principles have served as a defining document for the growing grassroots movement for environmental justice.
Preamble WE THE PEOPLE OF COLOR, gathered together at this multinational People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, to begin to build a national and international movement of all peoples of color to fight the destruction and taking of our lands and communities, do hereby re-establish our spiritual interdependence to the sacredness of our Mother Earth; to respect and celebrate each of our cultures, languages and beliefs about the natural world and our roles in healing ourselves; to insure environmental justice; to promote economic alternatives which would contribute to the development of environmentally safe livelihoods; and, to secure our political, economic and cultural liberation that has been denied for over 500 years of colonization and oppression, resulting in the poisoning of our communities and land and the genocide of our peoples, do affirm and adopt these Principles of Environmental Justice:
1. Environmental justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecological unity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free from ecological destruction.
2. Environmental justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.
3. Environmental justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.
4. Environmental justice calls for universal protection from nuclear testing, extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and poisons and nuclear testing that threaten the fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food.
5. Environmental justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples.
6. Environmental justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins, hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials, and that all past and current producers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and the containment at the point of production.
7. Environmental justice demands the right to participate as equal partners at every level of decision-making including needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and evaluation.
8. Environmental justice affirms the right of all workers to a safe and healthy work
environment, without being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and
unemployment. It also affirms the right of those who work at home to be free from
environmental hazards.
9. Environmental justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice to receive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality health care.
10. Environmental justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice a violation of international law, the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, and the United Nations Convention on Genocide.
11. Environmental justice must recognize a special legal and natural relationship of Native Peoples to the U.S. government through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants affirming sovereignty and self-determination.
12. Environmental justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and providing fair access for all to the full range of resources.
13. Environmental justice calls for the strict enforcement of principles of informed consent, and a halt to the testing of experimental reproductive and medical procedures and vaccinations on people of color.
14. Environmental justice opposes the destructive operations of multi-national corporations.
15. Environmental justice opposes military