Bringing Awareness to Sea Level Rise Through Art

By Maegan Azpiazu, Communications Specialist, Grades 9-12

On October 18, Pinecrest Gardens Artist in Residence Xavier Cortada spoke to Upper School students about his large-scale participatory project regarding climate change, specifically, rising sea levels. The presentation comes ahead of a collaboration between Cortada, Pinecrest Gardens, the Village of Pinecrest and four local schools (including Gulliver Prep), titled Underwater HOA.

More than 150 visual arts and science students attended the presentation, along with faculty, staff and administrators. Following a brief introduction of his work, Cortada spoke on sea level rise, asking attendees to take out their phones and visit The Sea Level Rise Toolbox, an app that is part of Eyes on the Rise, a project out of Florida International University's School of Communication. The goal of the Sea Level Rise Toolbox is to inform South Florida citizens about the potential impact of sea level rise in their neighborhoods.

Participants entered their addresses in the app and were asked to write the elevation of their homes on an index card and hold them up so that everyone could see the numbers for each location. He also encouraged attendees to create markers, similar to his own creations, to be displayed throughout Miami during Art Basel week, as a large-scale participatory installation.

On Sunday, November 11, Gulliver will be the first of four South Florida schools to participate in Cortada's street mural project. Visual arts students and faculty will paint the intersection of SW 72 Avenue and Killian Drive based on the artist's Underwater HOA markers. Since the elevation at that location is seven feet, the mural will feature a multi-tone blue background with a wave at bottom and a large number seven in the middle.

Cortada will implement his Underwater HOA project in the Village of Pinecrest in tandem with his "Antarctic Ice Paintings: Global Coastlines" exhibition, premiering works he created during 2007-2007 in Antarctica, at the Hibiscus Gallery in Pinecrest Gardens. The exhibition will run from November 8, 2018 through January 13, 2019.