AIRIE Benefit Highlights: A Curator’s Perspective

By Tami Katz-Freiman for

The Everglades by Adam Nadel (2014) will be available for raffle during the fundraiser
The Everglades by Adam Nadel (2014) will be available for raffle during the fundraiser

As a board member of AIRIE, I have had the privilege and honor to outline and follow the selection of the artistic program for our upcoming benefit event on Saturday, January 24th in Pinecrest Gardens, where we will launch our new Knight Arts Challenge-supported Wild Billboards campaign. The benefit will feature Everglades-inspired art, alonglside commissioned site-specific installations and live performances – all made by artists from the 2014-15 residency program. Aspects of Everglades National Park will be portrayed in installations, performances, paintings, photographs, a tabloid newspaper and a video in this special afternoon.

Situated in the heart of South Florida, Pinecrest Gardens is the perfect setting for such a gathering. This historical landmark is a magical setting featuring huge banyan trees, shaded ponds, and outdoor theaters. Guests are invited to roam the 14 acre botanical garden, where they will discover performances, poetry readings, audio and visual site-specific installations. Local chefs will provide delightful refreshments, and guests will have the opportunity to meet AIRIE fellows and learn more about creating art in the River of Grass.

As a curator who is used to dealing with theme-oriented group or individual shows it was a unique experience for me to follow the preparations for this special one-afternoon-event and to learn firsthand from artists about their attitude to the Everglades and to see how they embrace our endangered World Heritage Site. I invite all my friends and colleagues to participate in this magical afternoon and I hope that the encounter with the art works and the conversations around ecological issues that these Everglades inspired art-works raise will contribute to AIRE’s significant mission.

At 2 pm, the benefit will launch in Pinecrest Garden’s Hibiscus Room, with an exhibition of work from AIRIE’s permanent collection including Rodney Dickson’s watercolors, photographs by Dana Levy, work from Susan Silas’ series The Specimin Drawer and Fellow Caterina Tiazzoldi’s AIRIELAB, an architectural experiment using palm fronds that the New York-based designer has been developing this month.

On a separate screen one could watch Flow: Big Waters, a video work created by Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas, AIRIE Fellows in July 2014. Their work addresses the influence that the passage of human populations has had on the Everglades natural environment.

Guests will receive a copy of Miami architect and artist Elite Kedan’s Everglades Atlas: Chart 1: Selections from the Interior. The tabloid includes a selection of photographs, ephemera, data collected and work produced during her residency in the Everglades. The publication serves as a method to process the time spent in the park and its surroundings, and functions as a blueprint for a book (Everglades Atlas) to be published in 2015, an exhibition catalog documenting her residency.

Adam Nadel’s photograph The Everglades will be offered to our guests in a raffle.