In its Sunday, July 13, opinion page editorial, the Plain Dealer noted an important requirement for the future success of this region in the shrinking world of the 21st century. A number of local civic organizations were chided for not moving aggressively to attract international business and talent to this end.
Through its mission to “provide leadership on key community issues,” the Cleveland Foundation is moving on two fronts to encourage the influx of economic and creative resources that can change both the global and the local perception of Cleveland.
Some weeks ago, the Plain Dealer profiled the exceptional work of the foundation’s director of international relations, Jorge Delgado, who is proactively inviting key global companies to look at the advantages of Northeast Ohio as a superior location for American expansion. In addition, the foundation’s board of directors in June approved the launch of a new international culture initiative designed to offer the community opportunities to explore and understand the human and creative perspectives of other cultures.
Creative Fusion, the Cleveland Foundation international artist-in-residence program, will partner with area cultural and educational institutions to bring creative artists in all disciplines here for extended residencies – six months or more. While here, these artists will engage in depth with Greater Cleveland artists and residents across all sectors, and especially with area youth, to share and exchange perspectives, ideas, cultural traditions and experiences.
The foundation has made a commitment of at least three years for this program. Through this initiative, it is our hope that Clevelanders will become more comfortable seeing themselves as a part of a global, multi-cultural society. We also hope this effort will help talented people from other parts of the world recognize Northeast Ohio as a region that welcomes and appreciates a diversity of cultures, as well as a diversity of peoples.
On a very local note, last week saw the end of the first week of SmART in the City 2008, our full immersion summer arts camp for City of Cleveland fifth- and sixth-graders, supported for the second year by UBS Wealth Management. Below you will find a photograph of the 2008 class on the steps of Severance Hall, following their attendance of a rehearsal of the Cleveland Orchestra. Also below you can see part of a SmART class at the Spanish American Day Care Center, learning hip hop DJ etiquette as taught by young staff from Progressive Arts Alliance, one of the eight arts organizations partnering with the foundation to deliver the SmART in the City program.