Slippery Rock Tiled Drawing

Xavier Cortada, “Flower Force: Slippery Rock planting drawing,” charcoal on board, 32” x 40”, 2012.

Cortada’s charcoal drawing of a flower will be transformed into 104 living gardens in Pennsylvania: The art work is to be cut into 104 pieces and exhibited at RE:Green, an international juried exhibition hosted by the Martha Gault Art Gallery at Slippery Rock University and juried by Jeff Schmuki.

The artwork will be distributed along with native wildflower seeds to 104 individuals who live in the area near Slippery Rock University. Participants will plant the wildflower seeds at home or in the community, dedicating their garden to someone who has inspired them to live in a more sustainable way. Through a wildflower garden, these 104 individuals will honor those who planted a “green” seed in them and help sustain their community’s biodiversity.


We have the power to change the environment.  We have transformed places where intricate life-sustaining ecosystems developed through millennia into spaces designed for for our own use. We have ended nature as we know it, and created “wild” spaces bounded by our need for living space, for food, for resources. Sadly, we forget that our homes were once thriving natural habitats for the animals with whom we share this planet.  Block after block, suburb after suburb, city after city, huge swaths of nature have been replaced by concrete, asphalt, and manicured lawns.

Nature shrinks as it succumbs to our power.

But power is deceiving — mostly, because it isn’t real.  It’s borrowed.  Actions have consequences and actors, no matter how powerful, are ultimately held accountable.

Over-populated, over-polluted, our planet is signaling less comfortable days ahead for all species, including our own.

We need to use our power to find a better way to coexist with nature and to mitigate the harm we have done to our planet.  We can start by carving out spaces from our developed world and returning them to nature. 


Flower Force is a participatory eco-art project designed to mobilize individuals to return space to nature our societies by planting native wildflowers in their yards. Their actions create islands of natural habitats for local fauna and beautify their homes and neighborhoods.


Wildflowers magically rise from the soil in a triumphant celebration of color and form. They are architectural masterpieces, miniature cathedrals. Wildflowers can have medicinal properties or carry cultural significance in local cultures. They can have practical uses and provide food and shelter to hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other species. 
Wildflowers allow the planet’s pollinators, with whom they co‐evolved through time, to fulfill their joint responsibility of sustaining life’s fragile web. An intricate and complex biological process that makes Earth verdant, sustains all animals (including humans) and balances atmospheric gases (that accelerate global climate change).