Bloomberg Philanthropies

Can public art make people in Miami-Dade care about climate change?

If all goes well, Miami-Dade County residents could see more art in their communities, and it’ll all be focused on climate change.

The county is one of 14 finalists for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, which will award at least three winning cities up to $1 million to support a series of themed art installations. Miami-Dade hopes its proposal for “Climate Sync Miami” will take home the prize money in October.

“We certainly are hoping it’s a way to draw attention to climate change and how it will practically affect people day to day,” said Amanda Sanfilippo, curator for art in public places.

Miami-Dade, one of the communities most at risk from rising seas, is no stranger to public art focused on climate change.

In 2017, the county’s Art in Public Places department had a year-long exhibit called SEA LEVEL RISE focused on the effects of rising seas on the vulnerable coastal community. One memorable installation involved a series of pumps — the kind that keep Miami Beach’s streets dry — next to the Pérez Art Museum Miami to suck in water from Biscayne Bay and spray it back into the water in a fountain-type display.

“We wanted to really amplify and build upon what we did there,” said Sanfilippo.

If Miami-Dade wins, the plan is to create eight to 12 installations in 10 spots (parks, libraries or transportation locations) throughout the county for 18 months. Those installations could be semi-permanent, like the pump installation, or more temporary, like an event or performance.

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