Creative Fusion Update: Kuen-lin Tsai

For three months, beginning in September, six international artists created, collaborated and engaged with the Greater Cleveland community through our Creative Fusion international-artist-in-residence program. Hailing from Chile, Iran, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam, the artists in the Creative Fusion 2015 fall class were in residency at local arts organizations including Cleveland Print Room, The Sculpture Center, Negative Space Gallery, Zygote Press, Rainey Institute and Waterloo Arts. We blogged about each artist in October, and now that the fall 2015 residency has ended, we’re giving a brief update about each artists’ work and experience during their time in our city. This is the final of six updates on the fall 2015 Creative Fusion artists.

Early in his residency at Waterloo Arts, Kuen-lin Tsai set his sights on building a large public art sculpture in the steel Waterloo Tower in North Collinwood. Kuen-lin decided to craft the sculpture using PVC pipes and fittings, a familiar material he has used in previous sculptures. He found that procuring PVC materials was far more difficult in the U.S. than in Asia, but through mail order, trips to Home Depot and an excursion to a plumbing supply store in Akron, Kuen-lin was finally able to collect the parts he needed and begin construction. Kuen-lin also prepared sets of PVC for students at CMSD’s Oliver H. Perry Elementary School. The students visited Kuen-lin in his studio, where he led them in a sculpture workshop. Kuen-lin then incorporated the sculptures they created with the PVC into his larger tower sculpture.

The final phase of the sculpture’s construction took place in the Waterloo Arts gallery and outside on the gallery’s front patio, allowing visitors and community members to watch Kuen-lin’s progress. Installing the 30-foot sculpture required a bit of problem-solving and assistance from other artists and community members who volunteered their time, expertise and tools to assist Kuen-lin. The finished work, titled Treesure House, was unveiled to the community on November 6th.

In addition to his work on Treesure House, Kuen-lin hosted a series of Taiwanese film screenings at Waterloo Arts and built a website using a new platform he learned about during his residency. He visited local attractions including a basketball game at Cleveland State, a performance by Groundworks DanceTheater and Lakeview Cemetery. Kuen-lin also demonstrated his culinary artistry when he made sushi for the Creative Fusion cohort dinner and got into the fall spirit by learning to make a quintessential American dish – apple pie!