Elevation Yard Signs

Elevation Yard Signs are markers that announce a home’s elevation above sea level in an effort to catalyze conversation and action around the climate crisis. Participants of The Underwater are encouraged to discover the elevation of their home and paint or draw that number on their blank yard sign (pictured above).

Once residents place these elevation-marked signs in their front yard, curiosity from neighbors, friends, and family is instantly sparked as the meaning of the number is unknown to anyone not familiar with the project. It’s precisely in these moments of intrigue when project participants have the opportunity to educate the individual(s) about the local impacts of sea level rise and motivate them to get involved in efforts to protect Miami. 


Anyone is invited to pick up one FREE Elevation Yard Sign from the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami. Simply visit during their regular business hours (Wednesday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) and ask about The Underwater.

The Cortada Foundation team also distributes free yard signs every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market.


  • Paint a Yard Sign:
    • Repurpose any yard sign you have, painting it white to symbolize Antarctic glaciers.
  • Check Your Home Elevation:
    • Click here to find your home’s elevation above sea level.
  • Paint Your Number:
    • Use black paint to display your elevation on the right side. 
    • Add a blue squiggly line below to represent rising seas.
  • Display the Sign:
    • Place it in your front yard or tape it to your door/window.
  • Share on Social Media:
    • Take a photo and share it on social media, tagging @cortadafoundation and #Underwater305.
  • Spread the Word:
    • Encourage your neighbors to create their own signs.
  • Learn More, Get Involved:
    • Click here to explore our educational resources and trusted local orgs

antarctic ice painting

The backdrop of the Elevation Marker is an “ice painting” that artist Xavier Cortada created using melted Antarctic ice during his trip to the world’s southernmost continent in 2007. Cortada, recipient of a 2006-2007 National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers fellowship, traveled to Antarctica to create new works and implement a series of projects and installations. Learn more about the artist’s Antarctic work here.

PICTURED RIGHT: Florida Governor Charlie Crist and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger accept Antarctic Ice Paintings from artist Xavier Cortada at the Florida Summit on Global Climate Change in Miami on July 13, 2007.