Xavier Cortada is certainly not your typical brush to canvas artist.
He is known for his science and nature involvement and his deep love for the environment. To that end, he has created art installations at the Earth’s poles to generate awareness about global climate change, is active regarding solar power awareness and environmental advocacy right here in South Florida, and has been involved in dozens of prestigious projects internationally, including an art installation that hangs aside CERN’s Large Hadron Collider honoring the discovery of a new Higgs-like particle.
Cortada has created art for many corporate customers, the White House, the World Bank, Florida Botanical Gardens, Miami City Hall, Miami-Dade County Hall, the Florida Turnpike, Miami-Dade Housing Authority, the Frost Science Museum, Museum of Florida History, and the Frost Art Museum. The list goes on and on. But you can tell his love flows from his art and into the world he lives in.
Is it any wonder that he was just elected Chairperson of the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Council? Cortada is not new to the Council, having served on it since 2005, but as the first ever artist in the role, there is a sign of respect from the more business and corporate-minded people who typically chair the group.
Cortada has already started to make his mark on the role. “I’m honored to be appointed and know that the right way to serve the role [is to go beyond a traditional art creator] and to organize, engage and bring our community together,” explained Cortada.
It is widely believed that cultural arts play a major role in a community’s healthy economy. Miami-Dade County’s economic explosion over the past 15 years is a prime example of that. A recent New Economic Impact of the Arts study shows that arts added $1.43B to our Miami-Dade economy. “Besides the cultural and community impacts, the arts are an incredible economic multiplier,” explained Cortada. Tallahassee, it seems, does not subscribe to this data. They cut the cultural arts funding this year by 90%, to just $2.6M. Cortada sees this as a problem and a challenge that he and the 15-member Council must help address. “During my first meeting as Chairman, I urged our councilmembers need to engage the County Commissioner who appointed them and invite them to cultural events to see their investment in the arts in action,” said Cortada.
Cortada wants to strengthen our cultural ecosystem and feels artists and arts advocates are part of the conversation. “Artists shouldn’t just be relegated to a stage or a studio, they also have roles of civic engagement in the broader community” explained Cortada. ““Cultural organizations and artists are change leaders and work tirelessly to make our community a great place for constructive civic dialogue and social and economic success.”
“Now more than ever, we, the locals need to continue to invest in the arts and develop cultural excellence, diversity and participation throughout Miami-Dade County,” passions Cortada. “We are already the shining example for the rest of the country, but now is not the time to rest on our laurels.”
Under Xavier Cortada’s leadership, he expects the advisory board to continue the Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs excellence in overseeing and making sure grants are submitted, evaluated and funded adequately to ensure excellence in cultural programming for residents and to attract international audiences to our thriving community.
The cultural arts torch is burning bright here in Miami-Dade County, with much more to come. Cortada plans to champion requests of incremental increases to the Department’s annual budget over the next four years, starting with $2.5 million for the Department’s FY 2018-2019 budget. The 5-year goal is to rebuild the budget with an additional $10 million to keep pace with the reality of present-day growing costs and demands for programs and services.”