Project Description

UNDERSTANDING LAKE OKEECHOBEE

Crucible of Farmland, Ranchland and Wetland 

Presented in Partnership with

ARTSail Residency and Research Initiative

Tuesday, April 20th, 12 pm – 1 pm

Join us via Zoom or Facebook Live

PLEASE RSVP

UNDERSTANDING LAKE OKEECHOBEE

Crucible of Farmland, Ranchland and Wetland 

Presented in Partnership with

ARTSail Residency and Research Initiative

Tuesday, April 20th, 12 pm – 1 pm

Join us via Zoom or Facebook Live

PLEASE RSVP

This virtual panel discussion is a continuation of the engaging conversations initiated during ARTSail’s first Lake Okeechobee expedition in early February 2021, with Dr. Paul Gray and Robert Mitchell.

It will explore the complexities of the Lake O. region, addressing some of the social and ecological issues the local communities and natural ecosystem are impacted by today.

On July 10, 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. For the first time ever, the Army Corps admitted to willfully and knowingly releasing toxic water containing cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms, without warning, from Lake Okeechobee to St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers.

The importance of this admission presents an opening into resolving a lethal impasse spanning decades between government, agro-business, environmentalists, and communities impacted by water management policy. These decisions impact communities to the east, south, and west and the Everglades, ultimately determining the quality of the water that constitutes the 1.5 million acres of the tropical wilderness of the Everglades, potable water for 6 million people and wildlife downstream, as well as the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf Mexico surrounding the Florida peninsula.

ARTSail has partnered with Friends of the Everglades to deliver a multi-pronged project, including a year-long artist residency with Christina Pettersson exploring the Lake O. region, public outreach programs, and the resulting bi-lingual publication, Water Ecologies for our Shared Future, aiming at building new audiences by bringing stakeholders across multiple sectors together. Our premise is that bringing an accomplished visual artist into the scenario can instigate new messaging and outcomes.

Panel

An Italian-born, Miami-based curator and climate activist, Ombretta brings more than twenty-five years of curatorial expertise with an international practice across non-profit institutions, commercial galleries, and art advisory pursuits with private clients. Since her move to the US in 1998 she has curated solo and group shows in Europe, the US, and Asia collaborating with museums, art festivals, commercial galleries, and art fairs, as well as the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. She also contributes to various art publications and has written essays for several books and catalogs. She has served across numerous boards including IKT, the International Association of Contemporary Art Curators, and the Art in Public Places Committee for the City of Miami Beach. Along with a team of Miami-based curators, Ombretta organized the first IKT Congress in the US, held in Miami April 11-14, 2019, with a post-congress in Havana, April 15-18, 2019
An avid swimmer, diver, and kiteboarder, since moving to Miami in 2013, Ombretta’s passion for the Florida waterways inspired ARTSail, a nomadic residency and research initiative that instigate creative and climate change inquiry. Since co-founding ARTSail with the ArtCenter/South Florida (now Oolite Arts), Ombretta’s interest and focus have shifted towards investigating how arts and culture can promote resilience and sustainability and moving communities from climate awareness to climate action.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Christina Pettersson has lived in Miami, FL most of her life. Over the last few years, her solo exhibitions reflect her lifelong passions and deep knowledge of her hometown, South Florida history, and its complex ecosystems. Recent shows include Locust Projects, the Deering Estate, the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami; Girls Club, Fort Lauderdale; the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, FL; Launch F18, New York, NY. She has exhibited at other museums, particularly in the South, such as the Birmingham Museum of Art, AL, Columbus Museum of Art, GA, Baltimore Museum of Art, MD, Wiregrass Museum of Art, AL, and the Naples Museum of Art, FL.
Her practice encompasses a variety of media spanning from drawing to immersive installations, performance, and video-based work. She is present in major collections locally, such as the PAMM, Martin Z. Margulies at the Warehouse, Deborah & Dennis Scholl, Frances Bishop Good & David Horvitz, and throughout the country. She has received the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship thrice, the largest regionally sponsored grant in the US. She received a Fulbright Grant to return to Sweden in 2000, attending the Valand School of Fine Arts in Gothenburg.

Robert Mitchell is a Community Activist from Belle Glade FL. He is a graduate of Florida A&M University and currently splits time between Belle Glade and Los Angeles where he owns and operates his own 5 Star Rated business, Country Boy Catering Inc. In addition to being a local leader of the Stop The Burn/GO GREEN Campaign Robert is the founder of the Muck City Black Lives Matter group and a recent candidate for Belle Glade City Commission seat D.

Dr. Paul Gray is based out of Lorida, FL, near the Kissimmee River, and has been working in Florida for 28 years, with the last 20 years for Audubon. For Audubon, Paul has managed the 7,300-acre Kissimmee Prairie Sanctuary, supervises the Lake Okeechobee Sanctuaries established in 1938, and works on water, land, and bird management issues with public and private entities. Paul’s educational background includes a BS from the University of Missouri, an MS from Texas Tech University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida.

About ARTSail Residency and Research Initiative 

A nomadic, multi-faceted platform, ARTSail facilitates interdisciplinary practice to cultural producers in the creation of innovative content addressing the climate crisis specific to South Florida. We connect artists with climate activists, scientists, and marine experts to investigate how climate change and man-made pollution are impacting the South Florida waterways and assist them in the creation of tangible outcomes with climate advocacy value.   

Four cultural producers completed month-long residencies between 2016 and 2019, and ARTSail became a standalone entity in July 2018. New proposals with an emphasis on activism and communication are in development under the leadership of the Founder and Executive Director, Ombretta Agrò Andruff.  

Belle Glade with Robert Mitchell | Photo Credit: Alex Markow