Miami Rising Looks Squarely At Sea Level

Sept. 8 Event To Show Art That Addresses Climate Change

Monica Torres

350 South Florida, in collaboration with Life is Art, Inc., Love the Everglades Movement, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Sierra Club Miami, The CLEO Institute, The New Florida Majority, and Miami Climate Alliance, is presenting an event on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Bayfront Park.

LEFT: Host Dita Devi.<BR> RITHT: Melanie Olivia.


LEFT: Host Dita Devi.
RITHT: Melanie Olivia.

Speakers will focus on topics of climate, jobs, and justice, live music, and art. It is a culmination of two other events: An Art Competition and a Battle of the Bands. From these two events, a group of artists and musicians will be selected to showcase their talent.

The main theme of Miami Rising is sea level rise, and the idea behind the event is for people to come together to discuss the issues facing the city, and ways to ameliorate the situation through political action.


At the Art Competition on Aug. 19 at Naomi’s Garden, local artists such as Leah Guzman, Sergio Torres, and myself, since I am also a visual artist, were selected to create paintings from scratch for hours before the final judging. The group of eight painters were picked from many applicants, who applied on Instagram.

JaFLEU The Artist was the winner. He explained that his piece of a woman representing justice represented “removing the blindfold and seeing all of us and how the world is being affected.” When I asked him to elaborate, he said, “I prefer people to mostly take what they want from my work.”

Artist Sergio Torres drew a painting depicting solutions to the environmental crisis. It includes windmills, solar panels, and a mango with a tree sprouting from its seed.

I created a vegan butterfly to bring awareness to the effects of our diets on climate change. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of global warming. By keeping animal products from our plates, we can stop further damage from those destructive industries destroying the rainforest's and producing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Still, our food choices are often left out of the conversation.

Other artists drew scenes of Miami underwater, already accepting the seemingly inevitable fate. Leah Guzman’s piece was of a lifeguard stand under the water. Her turquoise, blue, yellow and pink hues, which are very Miami, give a cool effect in the midst of chaos.


Melanie Olivia made a beautiful painting using an after-image. “This image was born from driving through Miami as a passenger. After we moved here–I would close my eyes at, particularly scary moments. I noticed the sun would leave an ‘after-image’ of what I saw beforehand. This series forewarns that the beauty of our world may someday only be an after-image if we close our eyes at the most critical moments and don’t act.”

Together the art from these artists told a story that continues to unfold before our eyes. Will we rise up and act in order to save the environment or we will just accept the inevitable and continue our current lifestyle? Humans don’t like change, so the future looks bleak. But without hope, we have nothing, so we must believe that few people can wake the rest of us up and lead us to action before it is too late. The event aims to stir up dialogue in order for community organizers to come together and enact political change.

All of the paintings will be on display on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 as part of event at Bayfront Park. Winners of A Battle of the Bands, which took place Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018 during the Words and Wine Open Mic at Las Rosas, will also perform.

 350 South Florida is a chapter of the international organization On the same Saturday as the event in Bayfront, six continents, seventy-one countries, and over 400 actions and events are planned. The organization calls for a world free of fossil fuels. Let’s rise up to save Miami.

Miami Rising for Climate Jobs and Justice
Saturday, September 8, 2018
Bayfront Park
4 to 8 p.m. 

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