September 2020 – Pinecrest Gardens launches Cortada Science Art Academy On-site and Online

Cortada wins Florida Alliance for Arts Education Leadership Award

The Florida Alliance for Arts Education recognizes leaders who work in various capacities to ensure that arts education is available in all Florida schools and communities and that arts education is of the highest quality. 

On August 19, 2020, FAAE 
announced that artist, Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council Chair, and UM Professor of Practice Xavier Cortada was selected to receive the state’s 2020 Doris Leeper Award

Lucinda Lavelli, former Dean of the University of Florida’s College of the Arts, nominated Cortada to receive the prestigious award (named in honor of the founder of the Atlantic Center for the Arts). Lavelli first met Cortada seven years ago and invited him to Gainesville to share his interdisciplinary art practice with her college. In 2013, he worked with her faculty in implementing FLOR500. In 2014, he worked with incoming freshmen in creating Moving Water.

Upon learning of his win, Lavelli commented: “[Cortada] continue[s] to produce thoughtful exciting pieces. We are so lucky to have [him] in Florida.” 

Pinecrest Gardens launches Cortada Science Art Academy On-site and Online

Cortada Science Art Academy at Pinecrest Gardens teaches students how to think, imagine, and problem-solve while caring for the environment. Developed by Xavier Cortada, renowned eco-artist and Pinecrest Gardens’ Artist-in-Residence, this immersive outdoor after-school program aims to develop engaged citizens who use art and science to better understand our world, connect with others, and address environmental concerns.

Adam Roberti, Master of Professional Science and Director of Cortada Projects, will lead students into a deep dive of Cortada’s science art practice and help them discover how they can use the power of art to make change in their communities. Through engaged studio sessions and presentations at the botanical garden’s Banyan Bowl and Hammock Pavilion, students will learn how to use creativity and leadership to help conserve Florida’s ecosystems, defend global biodiversity, and advance the work of climate scientists at the Earth’s poles.

Presented by Pinecrest Gardens, the Academy will be offering three daily after-school programs tailored to different age groups (Grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12). The Academy will also provide a daily STEAM enrichment program for high school students to supplement homeschool curricula. Registration is limited to ensure all social distancing and safety protocols are followed. All classes will simultaneously be available via Zoom for a distance learning alternative during the pandemic. Pinecrest Gardens requires advanced registration and payment to enroll.

SCIENCE ART: Xavier Cortada, “The Markers,” (South Pole), 2007. Created as part of the NSF Antarctic Artists and Writers Program.


by Elisa Turner

For years, Cortada has created socially engaged, collaborative art. Miami Corona Project is very much consistent with his activist, community-based practice.

Cortada attended International AIDS conferences in Switzerland and South Africa in 1998 and 2000, respectively, to create collaborative murals with conference participants. More recently, Cortada has created numerous community art projects to promote awareness of Miami’s vulnerability to rising seas and climate change.

“I understand how people can be in denial about sea-level rise,” he said. “They can also be in denial about this particular virus and the pandemic in general.”

Cortada aims to show connections between climate change and the pandemic. “Our climate emergency exacerbates the pandemic,” he said.

Underwater HOA Meeting

Please join us for our upcoming virtual Underwater Homeowner’s Association meeting on September 2nd at 7:00 pm.

Hunter Vaughan, author, environmental media scholar, and visiting lecturer at the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, will serve as guest speaker.

Underwater HOA aims to generate awareness on rising sea levels, and engage Floridians to take action against climate change by providing a space where homeowners can address its impending impacts.

Register for the meeting to receive the access link.

Letters to the Future with CLEO

On Tuesday, July 28th, Cortada Projects director Adam Roberti joined the CLEO Institute’s Climate Action Lab (CAL) to engage students in Cortada’s Letters to the Future participatory art project.

In Letters to the Future, participants connect to future generations by writing a letter about their current experience. It lengthens the “care horizon” beyond our lifetime. 

CLEO’s CAL was an online summer training program for high school students to learn about the climate crisis and how they can find their role in the environmental movement.

Write your own letter to the future here.

Xavier Cortada and all of us at Cortada Projects are committed to using the power of art to engage the community in learning about and addressing important ecological concerns including climate change, sea level rise, and biodiversity loss. Thank you for reading our July 2020 newsletter.