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Unique Ecoart Project Coming to Martin County
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (January 15, 2009) – A cutting edge approach to addressing environmental problems using the creativity of the arts will launch in Martin County this spring, thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties to The Arts Council in Stuart.
The Ecoart project is a collaboration between The Arts Council and the South Florida Environmental Art Project, Inc. The project will launch on April 2, 2009 with a one-day symposium showcasing three highly successful Eco-Art projects, which will also be broadcast online at greenmuseum.org. A film series of short films and videos on the environment and eco-art will also take place. The exhibition will feature documentation of several environmental performance art pieces from New York City gallery Exit Art’s 2007 show “EPA” (Environmental Performance Art) as well as the work of renowned Florida-resident Ecoartist Xavier Cortada. Cortada’s contribution will include both an installation of red mangrove propagules and videos of his groundbreaking “Reclamation Project.”
According to the Mangrove Action Project, mangrove forests are among the most threatened habitats in the world. This grant presents an innovative project that responds to environmental concerns in an artistic and educational manner. The project brings together community members on a common issue, by gaining participation from the city to reforest mangroves along the waterway and from community volunteers to assist in reseeding.
Project volunteers will visit public and retail spaces with mangrove seedlings in hand, asking that they exhibit the seedlings. In the fall, volunteers will plant these seedlings in coastal areas, reclaiming them for nature. The reforestation and volunteer effort will be implemented in partnership with the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA). An artist workshop and an apprentice program for South Florida resident professional artists who wish to explore ecoart as a new creative direction will be scheduled following the exhibit.
“The grant from the Community Foundation will help The Arts Council and our partners position the Treasure Coast as a center for ecoart,” said Nancy Turrell, Executive Director of the Arts Council, Inc.
“This grant will facilitate an extraordinary yet most natural marriage of two powerful forces in our community: the artistic and the environmental,” said Osvaldo Monzon, Chair of the Arts Council Court House Cultural Center Committee and Deputy Director of the Elliott Museum. “The Treasure Coast will have the opportunity to become a national leader in an art practice that is at the forefront of the promotion of environmental stewardship and cultural understanding.”
The $60,000 Ecoart Project grant is among the more than $1.2 million in grants distributed this month to 21 nonprofit organizations serving a wide range of needs in Palm Beach and Martin counties. Funding of the Ecoart Project was made possible through contributions from the Fox Fund, the Mosaic Fund, the Dreyfoos Fund, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fund and the General Unrestricted Fund of the Community Foundation.
“The Community Foundation makes me aware of opportunities that I may want to support through my fund,” said Kathryn Fox Winokur, a donor of the Community Foundation who supported the project. “This project meets my charitable interests and passion for the arts perfectly.”
“The Ecoart Project grant is a prime example of how the Community Foundation can make innovative projects possible through the collective power of multiple donors who care about the community,” said Deborah Pucillo, Chair of the Grants Management Committee and Vice Chair of the Community Foundation. “The Ecoart Project was particularly compelling as it addresses both the Arts and the Environment, two of our grantmaking priorities, in a powerful way.”
Another feature of the project the Community Foundation found worthy is its emphasis on community building and civic engagement to creatively address threats to the environment. The emphasis in eco-art is away from the focus on individual artistic intention and inspiration, and on collaboration: across disciplines, artist to scientist to public official and beyond.
The Treasure Coast Ecoart education and apprenticeship collaboration is the first of its kind. The aim is to create a replicable program.
“The Community Foundation has taken on something that has the potential to bring creativity to the environmental movement in ways that have not been done before,” said Mary Jo Aagerstoun, Founder/President of the South Florida Environmental Art Project, Inc.
More information on the project is available at www.yourcommunityfoundation.org and www.martinarts.org.
About the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties
The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties has been creating lasting value for our communities for more than 35 years. The Foundation accepts contributions from individuals, families, businesses, corporations and other foundations in support of community initiatives, special projects and permanent endowment. Income from endowment is used to make grants and award scholarships primarily in Palm Beach and Martin counties. Since 1972, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $74 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and over $4.5 million in scholarships to more than 1,200 students. For more information, contact the Community Foundation at (561) 659-6800 or visit www.yourcommunityfoundation.org.
About the Arts Council
The Arts Council is the designated local arts agency for Martin County. The Arts Council provides services to visual and performing artists, arts organizations, students and the public and strives to instill a passion for and participation in the arts. For more information, please call 772-287-6676 or visit www.martinarts.org.
About the South Florida Environmental Art Project
The South Florida Environmental Art Project’s primary role is to educate the general public, and leaders of key environmental and cultural stakeholder organizations, in South Florida, regarding the significant role ecoart can play to enhance responsible stewardship of environmental resources in the region. To learn more visit www.sfeap.org.
Xavier Cortada, The Reclamation Project (Installation at the Miami Science Museum), 2008 and photo of the artist, Xavier Cortada, courtesy of Xavier Cortada