Pinecrest Environmental Artist Xavier Cortada calls for action on rising sea levels

Pinecrest Environmental Artist Xavier Cortada calls for action on rising sea levels

Pinecrest Environmental Artist Xavier Cortada calls for action on rising sea levelsScientists warn sea level rise around the world is accelerating, mainly due to melting ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, and the annual rate of rise could more than triple every year by 2100, according to data published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Xavier Cortada, a National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists and Writers Program fellow and current Pinecrest Gardens artist-in-residence, has known that since he first visited the frozen continent over a decade ago. Now in partnership with the Village of Pinecrest, he’s hoping to raise awareness and help others prepare for the inevitable through the launch of a participatory art project titled “Underwater HOA.”

Beginning Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018 and during Art Basel Miami Beach (Dec. 6-9), Cortada and the Village of Pinecrest will encourage 6,000 households to join a newly-formed Underwater Homeowners Association and place Underwater Markers artistically designed by the acclaimed environmental artist in their yards. Markers are numbered from 0 to 17 (the elevation range for the 6,000 households) to depict how many feet of melting glacial water needs to rise before the property is underwater. He will collaborate with high school students to map the elevation of four major intersections in Pinecrest by painting markers on the roadway. Additionally over Art Basel, the Village’s main thoroughfare, Killian Drive, will feature Underwater Markers along a 2.5-mile stretch, between US1 and Red Road, to show drivers the gradual increase in elevation from one end of the street to the next.

Joining Cortada and the Village of Pinecrest as partners on the project are the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy and Florida International University’s Sea Level Solutions Center as well as Eyes on the Rise App. Ygrene, a national leader in residential and commercial clean energy financing, is sponsoring the markers.

“By mapping the impending crisis, I make the invisible visible,” Cortada said in a recent New York Times T Magazine interview.

“Block by block, house by house, neighbor by neighbor, I want to make the future impact of sea level rise something impossible to ignore. By asking participants to join the newly chartered group Underwater HOA, I hope to engage my neighbors as problem-solvers who will learn and work together now to better prepare themselves and their heirs for the chaos to come.”

In addition, Cortada will debut 60 untitled and never seen before paintings. The “Antarctic Ice Paintings: Global Coastlines and Underwater HOA” exhibition will be on display from Nov. 8, 2018 – Jan. 13, 2019 inside the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens, South Florida’s Cultural Arts Park.

“I learned from the scientists that the very Antarctic ice I was using for my work threatens to drown my city,” Cortada said.

“Antarctica is coming to every coastline across the globe. Instead of burying our heads in the sand, let’s figure out how to combat climate change together.”

The inaugural Underwater HOA meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019 in the Hibiscus Gallery at Pinecrest Gardens, located at 11000 Red Road.

“Climate change will affect the future of Pinecrest and all of South Florida,” said Pinecrest Mayor Joseph M. Corradino. “Through Xavier’s extraordinary vision, he will use art to make a bold statement, create awareness about sea level rise and bring the community together in an impactful way. The Village of Pinecrest is proud to be collaborating on this participatory public art project. We have timed the launch of this project around Art Basel when the focus of the art world will be on Miami to bring attention to this important issue.”

To learn more about the Underwater HOA project, visit

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  1. I am very concerned with rising tide and support the cause but not this one. It is I’ll thought out and
    seems very good got the artist but not the neighbors. We should be concerned, we should work politically and environmentally and support the cause. We need our administration to support our louder voices regardless of party.

  2. How much are taxpayers paying for this “art”. It looks like a poorly done, amateurish billboard. Does anyone seriously want this in front of the expensive homes in Pinecrest? Maybe they won’t be so expensive once they convince the world they will be underwater in a few years. Which is totally unproven hype and fear tactics.

  3. The village ambushed us with this “project” with no public comment. Even the council said it would “freak people out”. This will be touted internationally so everyone will think we will be underwater in a few years. This is not just irresponsible, it is criminal.

  4. How can the village council go forward with a project that will significantly hurt our property values without even asking the public what our input was? I can tell you that the Pinecrest and Gables residents who have learned of this are vehemently opposed. They intend to put this all over the internet so anyone looking at Pinecrest property will be slapped in the face with the “underwater HOA”. We need to unite and get them out of office if this is allowed to ruin our property values.

  5. I don’t know who approved this “art” but it sure as heck wasn’t voted on by me or any of my neighbors in Pinecrest. It’s amazing that such a high end village like Pinecrest, where you can complain about a neighbor’s yard being an “eye sore”, would allow this poorly done “art”. Not to mention the fact that this paint, or whatever was used, is incredibly slick when wet — a few days ago it rained and afterward, as I was making a left onto 72nd Ave, I hydroplaned a bit. I was able to regain control, but how was this not an issue when this political statement — because that is in fact what it is — was approved by the higher ups in the village council? This is absolutely ridiculous. I’ll be contacting the village council because this whole thing is nothing more than an overt political statement, but more than anything it is a safety hazard.

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