#UnderwaterHOA Press Release
Village of Pinecrest and Acclaimed Environmental Artist Xavier Cortada Call for Action on Rising Sea Levels with New Interactive Project
“Underwater HOA” exhibit to map the elevation of 6,000 homes, four major street intersections and 2.5 mile stretch of Killian Drive, making climate change and rising sea levels visible
PINECREST, FL (October 2018) – Scientists warn sea level rise around the globe is accelerating, mainly due to melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, according to data published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Xavier Cortada, a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program fellow and current Pinecrest Gardens artist-inresidence, has known this since he first visited the frozen continent over a decade ago. Now in partnership with the Village of Pinecrest, he’s hoping to raise awareness and help others prepare for the inevitable through the launch of a participatory art project titled “Underwater HOA.”
Beginning Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 and during Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 3-9), Cortada and the Village of Pinecrest will encourage 6,000 households to join a newly-formed Underwater Homeowners Association and place Underwater Markers artistically designed by the acclaimed environmental artist in their yards.
Markers are numbered from 0 to 17 (the elevation range for the 6,000 households) to depict how many feet of melting glacial water needs to rise before the property is underwater. He will collaborate with high school students to map the elevation of four major intersections in Pinecrest by painting markers on the roadway.
Additionally over Art Basel, the Village’s main thoroughfare, Killian Drive, will feature Underwater Markers along a 2.5-mile stretch, between US1 and Red Road, to show drivers the gradual increase in elevation from one end of the street to the next.
Joining Cortada and the Village of Pinecrest as partners on the project are the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy and Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center as well as Eyes on the Rise App. Ygrene, a national leader in residential and commercial clean energy financing, is sponsoring the markers.
“By mapping the impending crisis, I make the invisible visible,” Cortada said in a recent New York Times T Magazine interview. “Block by block, house by house, neighbor by neighbor, I want to make the future impact of sea level rise something impossible to ignore. By asking participants to join the newly chartered group Underwater HOA, I hope to engage my neighbors as problem-solvers who will learn and work together now to better prepare themselves and their heirs for the chaos to come.”
In addition, Cortada will debut 60 untitled and never seen before paintings. The “Antarctic Ice Paintings: Global Coastlines and Underwater HOA” exhibition will be on display from Nov. 8, 2018 – Jan. 13, 2019 inside the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens, South Florida’s Cultural Arts Park. The paintings represent 60 other coastal communities threatened by sea level rise, including Shanghai, Barcelona and Buenos Aires.
Antarctica has been on Cortada’s mind since he first traveled to the continent in 2006 with the National Science Foundation. While there, he created a series of works on paper titled “Antarctic Ice Paintings” as featured by the Smithsonian’s American Art Journal, using glacier ice, sea ice and sediment samples provided by climate scientists working in Antarctica. Pollution traps heat in the atmosphere, causing these glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise.
“I learned from the scientists that the very Antarctic ice I was using for my work threatens to drown my city,” Cortada said. “Antarctica is coming to every coastline across the globe. Instead of burying our heads in the sand, let’s figure out how to combat climate change together.”
The inaugural Underwater HOA meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 in the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens, located at 11000 Red Road. Residents will have the opportunity to meet Cortada and have the artist sign their Underwater Markers. At this meeting, the organization will elect officers and ratify by-laws. Each household will receive one vote with a photo ID and proof of elevation.
“Climate change will affect the future of Pinecrest and all of South Florida,” said Pinecrest Mayor Joseph M. Corradino. “Through Xavier’s extraordinary vision, he will use art to make a bold statement, create awareness about sea level rise and bring the community together in an impactful way. The Village of Pinecrest is proud to be collaborating on this participatory public art project. We have timed the launch of this project around Art Basel when the focus of the art world will be on Miami to bring attention to this important issue.”
To learn more about the Underwater HOA project, visit www.underwaterhoa.com. For updates, also follow @PinecrestFL on social media and use hashtags #Pinecresting #UnderwaterHOA
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ABOUT XAVIER CORTADA
Xavier Cortada is a leading environmental artist, collaborator of the McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER (Long Term
Ecological Research) project in Antarctica, and was one of 12 artists recently featured on climate change
in the New York Times. Additionally, Cortada was just named chairman of the Miami-Dade County Cultural
Arts Council. The Miami-based artist’s studio is located at Pinecrest Gardens, where he serves as artist-inresidence,
implements his participatory art projects and oversees the Hibiscus Gallery.
Cortada works with scientists and groups globally to produce numerous collaborative art. Several highlights
including environmental installations at the North and South Pole that generate awareness about global
climate change, peace murals in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, child welfare murals in Bolivia and Panama,
AIDS murals in Switzerland and South Africa and eco-art projects in Taiwan and Holland.
He has been commissioned to create art for CERN, the White House, the World Bank, the Florida Supreme
Court, the Florida Governor’s Mansion, the Museum of Florida History, the Florida Botanical Gardens,
Miami City Hall, the Frost Science Museum, Miami-Dade County Hall, Port Everglades and the Florida
Turnpike. His work is in the permanent collections of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), the NSU
Museum of Art in Ft. Lauderdale, the Whatcom Museum and the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum.
Cortada’s art also has been featured on National Geographic TV and the Discovery Channel.
ABOUT VILLAGE OF PINECREST
The Village of Pinecrest was incorporated on March 12, 1996 and is one of 34 municipalities in Miami-Dade
County, Florida. It is home to approximately 18,225 residents and is conveniently located south of
Downtown Miami and Miami International Airport. The Village of Pinecrest is nationally recognized as a
Tree City USA, a Playful City USA and a Community of Respect. The South Florida Business Journal has
recognized Pinecrest as one of the ten best places in Florida for “quality of life” and the Village is generallyrecognized
as one of the most beautiful residential communities. Additional information about the Village
of Pinecrest is available at www.pinecrest-fl.gov.
ABOUT PINECREST GARDENS
Pinecrest Gardens, South Florida’s Cultural Arts Park, attracts over 160,000 visitors each year. Formerly
Parrot Jungle, one of America’s most beloved tourist attractions, the Village of Pinecrest purchased this
property in 2002, and in October 2011, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pinecrest
Gardens is a premier venue for the arts, education and environmental conservation and preservation. On
any given day, one can experience a live performance in its 500-seat amphitheater, tour the 14 acres of
botanical beauty that includes native forested wetland, tropical hardwood hammock and cypress slough or
participate in a horticulture or conservation workshop. For more information, visit
www.pinecrestgardens.org or follow @PinecrestGardens on social media.
Underwater HOA is a participatory public art project Xavier Cortada is implementing in tandem with his “Antarctic Ice Paintings: Global Coastlines” exhibition in Pinecrest Gardens Hibiscus Gallery from November 8, 2018 through January 13, 2018.