Florida Botanical Gardens – Artist in Residence Sustainability Project

Tampa Bay
October 8, 2009

Florida Botanical Gardens – Artist in Residence Sustainability Project
12520 Ulmerton Road
Largo, FL 33774

Description of Artwork: Through this artist-in-residence program, Miami artist Xavier Cortada worked at the Florida Botanical Gardens to promote environmental sustainability and the use of native plants in home landscaping. This “eco-art” project consisted of a variety of public works, many with participatory, educational events involving schoolchildren, the community, and the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society.

Cortada’s artworks include four digital prints located in the lobby of the Pinellas County Extension building, a painted mural in an outdoor pavilion at the Florida Botanical Gardens, and an eco-art installation of mangrove seedlings lined up in rows against a long wall facing the Wedding Garden. The most permanent works in the project, the four digital pigment prints were produced by photographing the leaves of several native trees at the Florida Botanical Gardens and then digitally manipulating the images to create each brightly-colored monoprint.

The installation of mangrove seedlings, growing in plastic cups, is designed to showcase the importance of mangroves to our local ecology. Xavier recruited the help of a local mangrove expert, Dr. Tom Smith, and students from Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg to become engaged in the collection, growth, and replanting of these mangrove seedlings.

Another part of the project consists of an eco-art, educational outreach activity, designed to send the message that it is up to each of us to help restore native habitats for plants and animals. Teaming up with the local chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, the artist created six “eco-flags” which draw attention to six native trees at the Botanical Gardens: Slash Pine, Sea Grape, Southern Red Cedar, Red Maple, Bald Cypress and Green Buttonwood. From this partnership, 750 giveaway flags were created for people in the community wishing to “adopt” a native tree and plant it in their front yard, staking the flag as a ‘proclamation’ of this ecological activity. Participants were each given a flag and a native tree sapling to plant; each flag carries the slogan “I hereby reclaim this land for nature.”

Additional information about the tree planting campaign and Xavier Cortada’s ongoingReclamation Project can be found at www.cortadaprojects.org/archives/reclamationproject.

watch video – Public Art – Eco-Art Reclamation Project

Artist: Xavier Cortada

Home State: Florida

Title of Work: Artist in Residence Project–Sustainability
Painted outdoor mural (Florida Botanical Gardens)
Mangrove Seedling Eco-Art Installation
(Florida Botanical Gardens)
Digital pigment monoprints on Somerset Velvet paper
(Inside, Extension Building):
Growing Our Native Canopy 1
(Bald Cypress, Red Cedar, Slash Pine)
Growing our Native Canopy 2
(Green Buttonwood, Red Maple, Seagrape)
each 24” x 84”
Mangroves 1 (Coastal Reforestation)
Mangroves 19 (Coastal Reforestation)
each 30” x 24”

Material: Mangrove seedlings, other native plants, plastic cups, digital pigment prints, acrylic paint, printed flags

Dimension: Various

Completed: 2009

Access: During Botanical Gardens Business Hours:
Outdoor exhibits daily from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tapestries located in Extension Center:
Open Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.