Art Week 2023

Miami Herald: Miami artist aims to open eyes about sea rise risks with art week installations

The Knight Foundation presents an interactive art campaign by Xavier Cortada, Miami-Dade County’s inaugural Artist-in-Residence, highlighting the urgency of sea level rise during Art Week 2023. “The Underwater” made a splash by informing thousands of residents and tourists about South Florida’s climate vulnerability while providing a collaborative platform for finding solutions.

This community-wide participatory public art installation was implemented by the Cortada Foundation and was sponsored by Creative Capital, Cecil & Ana Milton Family Foundation, Miami Herald, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Miami DDA, and Arts & Business Council of Miami.


During December 4th – 10th, 2023, Miami Beach, Downtown, and Wynwood served as dynamic canvases for the installation of thousands of elevation-specific yard signs.

These signs, strategically placed in front of retail venues, around cultural hubs, and along high-traffic corridors, creatively depicted each area’s elevation above sea level, enticing curious passersby to scan the embedded QR codes, and make the invisible threat of sea level rise something that is impossible to ignore.


Art Week attendees had the opportunity to directly participate in the campaign by picking up or creating their own elevation yard signs at select locations. As people discover their home’s elevation through this process, they begin to feel connected to the issue of climate change and ultimately empowered to be part of the solution. This hands-on involvement transforms spectators into contributors, fostering a sense of collective responsibility and a hopeful outlook for meaningful change.


Miami-Dade County Artist-in-Residence Xavier Cortada hosted two “Underwater Conversations” during Art Week 2023. These events includes solutions-oriented panel discussions, opportunities to create elevation yard signs, and creative approaches to addressing the climate crisis.

The first event was held on Dec. 4th at Miami Beach Regional Library.

The second event was held on Dec. 10th at Moonlighter FabLab.

The Underwater,” Xavier Cortada’s socially engaged art project that sparks widespread conversation and action around sea level rise, is being implemented by the Cortada Foundation. It is the subject of a TED Talk by the artist, and his Creative Capital, Oolite, and National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine awards. In collaboration with the Miami Dade County Office of the Mayor, the University of Miami College of Engineering and the Knight Foundation, the Cortada Foundation is bringing the interactive climate art initiative to all of Miami-Dade County’s 287 parks. “The Underwater” has also been showcased in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences “2023 Forging Climate Solutions” report and was announced as an award-winning project for the United States’ 5th National Climate Assessment.