Arts In Podcast – Xavier Cortada

Xavier Cortada is an artist who tackles climate change, endangered species, poverty, homophobia, Florida’s history and hard science with his artwork.

And he’s a funny, engaging, vibrant guy from Miami whose art projects are seen by millions, and get people all over Florida participating. Cortada’s work is featured in school textbooks and publications, on National Geographic TV and the Discovery Channel.

Xavier talks with Barbara St. Clair about marking the 500th anniversary of Florida’s colonization by Spain by working with biologists to find 500 native Florida wildflowers that he got 500 Florida artists to paint, while asking historians for 500 people vital to Florida’s history – who weren’t white men – and getting people around the state to plant 500 native wildflower gardens each dedicated to one of those people. Then he put the whole project and research online, where people could read up and share their own photos of natural Florida.

Xavier Cortada was commissioned to create beautiful artwork exploring the Higgs boson particle experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. He created art projects at both the North and South Poles to draw attention to climate change and endangered populations, with a project currently in the Antarctic that will take 150,000 years to complete.

His Reclamation Project encourages Floridians to take back nature from developers by planting native trees as an act of performative art. And he offers darkly comic advice for 5 Ways to Stop Sea Level Rise from destroying Florida’s coastline.

Xavier Cortada shares his passion for art as a tool for social change, for sculpting not a sculpture but a thriving community.

Find out more about Xavier Cortada’s art and explore images, writings and more at

Hear his TED Talk on the Higgs boson project at


Arts In is produced by Sheila Cowley.
Executive Producer, Barbara St. Clair for Creative Pinellas.



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