500 Artists, Gardens Celebrate Florida’s 500th Birthday

Posted by Xavier Cortada On December - 17 - 2012

On Easter Sunday 1513, Ponce de Leon landed his three ships on the eastern shore of the peninsula where I live.

Claiming the land for Spain, he named the place La Florida, (for the Spanish word “flor” or flower) because of the lush landscape and because of the day the explorers arrived, Pascua florida, Easter.

As we approach the 500th anniversary of this encounter, I am working through the Florida International University College of Architecture + The Arts to develop FLOR500, a participatory art, nature, and history project that encourages participants to explore Florida’s natural wonder:

Indeed, I wanted to create an art project that allowed our inhabitants to understand the multicultural origins of our state, its fragile biodiversity, and its threatened coastlines. So I took the father of the Fountain of Youth mythology and his historic milestone as a point of departure to explore ways of rejuvenating “the Sunshine State.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Bateman

When it comes to creating a platform that effectively addresses the intersection of art and change while activating community engagement, there is no better way in my opinion to accomplish this task than by using participatory methods with a street-based approach.

Whether you call it community-based art, political art, social practice art, or participatory art, as long as the message is authentic and an entire community is engaged through every stage of the process, it can be one of the strongest ways to cultivate a movement towards change at the local level.

By now, it seems that almost everyone is familiar with the artist JR, a “photograffeur” who uses wheatpaste methods to post large-scale black and white photographs in public locations. By photographing different populations and placing their faces in strategic locations to bring visibility to them as individuals, JR works at the intersection of art and action, addressing issues of identity, freedom, community, and acceptance.

When JR became the 2011 TED Prize Winner, he in turn created Inside Out, “a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work.”

Moving the project beyond his own boundaries as an individual artist, and opening it up for the general population to become co-creators, JR has spawned a worldwide movement for us as individuals to photograph our face in order reveal and bring visibility to ourselves within our own community. Read the rest of this entry »