December 2020 – Cortada brings public art to Village Hall

Public Art at Pinecrest Village Hall

Xavier Cortada, “Heron,” acrylic on canvas, 72″ x 60″, 2020

Just outside the Village of Pinecrest’s council chambers, a heron and a pair of ibises wade alongside mangroves in shallow waters. In Xavier Cortada’s iconic depiction of Florida’s beloved flora and fauna, the two large paintings – “Heron” and “Ibises” – greet residents and staff as they walk into the lobby.

Cortada’s environmental-themed public artworks help bridge audiences to the natural world that once existed in local public spaces. He asks viewers to consider their relationship with nature, reflecting on the lessons it can teach us and how they can be applied to our connections with the world around us. At the Miami-Dade County Commission Chambers, his 2004 mural “Our Community (is like a Mangrove Forest)” hangs in its foyer, depicting vibrant mangroves and rolling waves, much like the dynamic, unique culture of our county. At the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center in Key Largo, FL, “Native Canopy” hangs overhead as eight digital tapestries, inviting audiences to climb the staircase and feel as though they were climbing the branch of a tree, coming up on leaves.

Xavier Cortada, “We’re happy to join institutions like the White House, the World Bank, and Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places in commissioning Cortada to create public art for the Village of Pinecrest,” said Mayor Joseph Corradino.

Over the past three decades, Cortada has created art across six continents including more than seventy-five public artworks and dozens of collaborative murals.

In Florida, his public art commissions include works at the entrance of the commission chambers at City of Miami City Hall, Port Everglades, the Frost Art Museum, Florida Turnpike Plazas, Florida Botanical Gardens, Curtis Park, the Museum of Florida History, the State of Florida’s Department of State, and ten Miami-Dade Housing Authority sites.

Cortada also serves as artist in residence at Pinecrest Gardens, where he has developed important projects like Plan(T) in 2019 and Underwater HOA in 2018, two socially engaged art projects that bring community members together to plan for a future with rising seas.

“We are so honored to host such a significant artist and share his public art with our visitors,” stated Pinecrest Gardens Director Alana Perez. “Our permanent collection includes three of his public art pieces: “Diatom Court,” “Longitudinal Installation” (a replica of his 2006 installation at the South Pole), and most recently “Pinecrest Mangrove Forest” – a 200-foot long mangrove mural reminding us to plan and plant for the future.

Wading birds, like those depicted in many of Cortada’s public work, live in Florida’s wetlands—many migrate from the Caribbean basin to South Florida and beyond. “Much like the heron and ibises that call our community home,” stated Cortada, “Pinecrest residents come from all places, backgrounds, and life experiences to settle in the Village and build community. I am happy to share my art with them as permanent installations throughout the Village.

Article originally published in the December 2020 issue of the Pinecrest Sun.
ABOVE: Xavier Cortada, “Ibises,” acrylic on canvas, 72″ x 60″, 2020