Sweetwater Elementary to grow FLOR500 wildflowers in every student’s home

 

FLOR500 | Sweetwater
Miami artist Xavier Cortada will lead Sweetwater Elementary School students in creating a participatory eco-art project in support of the pollinators.  Inspired by his FLOR500 project (www.flor500.com), kids at the school will plant wildflower seeds to grow in their classroom.  Each student will have a cup with their name on it.  Each student will also create a hand-painted flag celebrating Earth Day.  Once sprouted, the student will take the wildflower plants home and plant them alongside their flags.  Planting the flag, they will become reverse conquistadores, returning a patch of land back to nature.

The first garden (see photo above) featured Coreopsis lanceolata, the official state wildflower. It was planted in front of the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee, FL on March 22, 2012 and dedicated to Florida’s indigenous people.

 

“Each of us has a role in helping shape Florida’s natural history,” said Cortada.  “We can help reclaim nature, one yard at a time, by planting wildflower gardens to support our pollinators.”  Cortada hopes his art piece will help educate individuals about the importance of Florida’s ecosystems and encourage better environmental stewardship.  This FLOR500 | Sweetwater participatory eco-art project at Sweetwater Elementary School is presented by FIU Frost Art Museum, FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society | College of Arts, Sciences & Education, the FIU College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts, and by the Participatory Art Projects, Inc. with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

 FLOR500 is a participatory art, nature, and history project created by Miami artist Xavier Cortada to commemorate Florida’s quincentennial in 2013. The project marks the importance of the moment when the history of our state changed forever and gives us a glimpse of what its landscape was like 500 years ago.
500 flowers
A team of scientists selected the 500 native flowers-  the same ones that grew in our state when Juan Ponce de Leon landed in 1513 and named it “La Florida”–from “flor,” the Spanish word for flower.
500 artists
Five hundred Floridians were then invited to depict 500 native wildflowers. The artwork, along with information about each flower, will be posted on the project website (www.FLOR500.com).500 gardens
A team of historians selected individuals who helped shape Florida history.  Florida schools and libraries (across the 67 counties and 8 regions) are encouraged to plant 500 wildflower gardens, dedicating them to one of 500 important Floridians selected by a team of historians.  These 500 new native habitats will help support Florida’s biodiversity.

Wildflowers, with help of their pollinators, help make Earth verdant:  Plant life sustains all animals (including humans) and balance atmospheric gases (that accelerate global climate change). Wildflowers would naturally continue to blanket our planet were it not for the displacement caused by the concrete we’ve poured ‐‐ and the parcels we’ve platted ‐‐ to build our homes and grow our society. Help reverse the trend:  Show us your wild side. Plant wildflowers in your yard.”
— Xavier Cortada

About the Artist: 

Xavier Cortada serves as Artist-in-Residence at FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society | College of Arts, Sciences & Education  and the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts.

Cortada often engages scientists in his art-making: At CERN, Cortada and a particle physicist created a permanent digital-art piece to celebrate the Higgs boson discovery. He has collaborated with a population geneticist to explore our ancestral journeys out of Africa 60,000-years ago, with a molecular biologist to synthesize a DNA strand from a sequence 400 museum visitors randomly generated, and with botanists to develop multi-year participatory eco-art efforts to reforest mangrovesnative trees and wildflowers across Florida.

The Miami artist has created environmental installations (North Pole and South Pole) and eco-art (TaiwanHawaii and Hollandprojects, and painted community murals addressing peace (Cyprus and Northern Ireland), child welfare  (Bolivia and Panama), AIDS (Switzerland and South Africa) and juvenile justice (Miami and Philadelphia) concerns.

Fore more info visit https://cortada.com

Torrid Flora exhibit at Pinecrest Gardens

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Torrid Flora_Invitation

Torrid Flora, features artwork by Jennifer Basile, Xavier Cortada, Sarah Henderson, Deborah Mitchell and Tina Salvesen which look beyond the blue skies and palm trees of our tropical surroundings.  As climate change and global warming are felt with the change of each season, Torrid Flora revisits Aristotle’s Torrid Zone assessments and presents a hauntingly view of its lush vegetation and plant life. Being the first to study the world’s climate, Aristotle divided it into three zones: Frigid, Temperate and Torrid. The Torrid Zone was deemed by the philosopher as uninhabitable, with weather conditions too hot for life. It is the nearest to the equator, reaching from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn. Miami stands just above the line of Aristotle’s simple classification, but its tropical conditions are evident. With the rising temperatures, are we headed in the direction in which he so long predicted?

Xavier Cortada, "Flora (sin titulo)," 36" x 27", archival ink on aluminum (edition of 5), 2015.

Xavier Cortada, “Flora (sin titulo),” 36″ x 27″, archival ink on aluminum (edition of 5), 2015.