Pinecrest Gardens: Gallery Crawl 2023

Pinecrest Gardens had an incredible event on April 15 that began at 5:00 PM. There were two people at the door receiving tickets and giving out coupons for the concession. There were over two hundred patrons casually dressed and enjoying themselves exploring art, learning about the environment and enjoying expertly created food, drink and music. Three buildings housed artworks. Each building contained works by a different artist. One building had Annette Bonnier, Xavier Cortada was in another and the main gallery had Artists Set the Table curated by Carola Bravo.

We met Cristina Blanco, the Director of the Gardens, who had been part of our correspondence and had told us of the event. She advised us on how best to enjoy the Special Exhibition. Blanco mentioned that we could begin at the Inspiration Center to see Bonnier’s collection of photographs, then walk back to Xavier Cortada’s showing at the Hibiscus Gallery and then cross to the Cypress Hall which showed the hARTvest collection.

Wildlife on Display

There was plenty to see between the buildings. The gardens have many tropical plants, some swans and many peacocks. An attendant mentioned that there were owls which were difficult to see because they tended to stay away from people. The peacocks kept making hissing noises and loud yells that sounded like women yelling for help. They watched me walk around and let me get quite close. The peacocks danced and spread their beautiful feathers. It was quite a display.

Digital Camera

Outdoor Exhibit Spotlighting Climate Change

Xavier Cortada’s work was displayed outdoors on the way to the Inspiration Center. It featured some flags and placards with numbers painted on them. Each number indicated how far underwater the ground would be if the current levels of climate change continued. Along with many scientists and experts, he is predicting a dangerous rise in the sea levels. This means that towns along the coast risk being flooded sooner than we would like. His work calls attention to the facts about our environment and the precarious conditions in which we live. He has visited many centers of political strength exhibiting his work and raising awareness.

He also had these interesting pieces. One was a large board with all of these note cards with small messages written on them. On each card, someone had written a note to another person living a hundred years from now. It had to be about the environment. I wanted to write something saying that the world was saved because the youth cared, but Gary said that the note cards were for kids and I shouldn’t write on them.

The other wall had containers with plants growing in them. Each of these plants were salt tolerant and could slow down erosion caused by water at the oceanside.

Digital Camera

Inspiration Center

It was an honor and a pleasure to make the acquaintance of this talented, grounded and inspiring artist, Annette Bonnier. She talked to us candidly about her experience during the pandemic and what led her to create these “Reflections from the Shadows.”

Bonnier’s Reflections

When I took the picture here, I realized that there were so many layers in this image. The artist, Bonnier, had created the image which I had then photographed and now the computer is reproducing all of these times. It is so amazing to me.

Her work speaks to the resilience of the human spirit which can find beauty in the most difficult circumstances created by isolation, disease and loneliness. Her travels to Africa and Jamaica also inspired her to create impactful and humane images. Her tender smile and open nature drew me in and made me want to stay with her, talking about what really matters.

More information about her work can be found on her website

Hibiscus Gallery

Elizabeth Heise, Xavier Cortada and Jill Reiter (l-r) © Helen Lemus, 2023.

This exhibit was entitled “Underwater Florida.” It featured the art of Xavier Cortada. Earlier in the article, there was mention of the symbolism of the placards with the numbers on them.

Here is his website that will explain more about his position on global warming and what each of us can do.

Cortada is a highly involved member of the community who has long advocated for the protection of our living areas. He has given TED Talks, has spoken to government leaders and has worked with youth to call attention to our global village’s environmental needs. It was a pleasure to ask him a question and get a wry smile and a great answer.

Cypress Hall

“Artists Set the Table” was a collection curated by Carola Bravo featuring the work of over 80 Cuban artists. These ceramics were as diverse as the individuals who produced them.

Gary and I were both amazed at the collection. Some of the plates were whimsical, funny, and provocative. Others were subtly charged and spoke of the same resilience and heart that has fueled the success of so many in the Cuban community.

It was so nice to spend some time with Yvonne Ferrer of the Museum of Contemporary Arts of the Americas. The warm-hearted passionate artist explained to us about the inspiration for her work with ceramic sculpture. During the pandemic, she and a fellow artist Evelyn Politzer created a heart-shaped work to express the need to care and show compassion for each other in concrete actions. She said the heart is the center of the emotions, is where pain and feelings dwell and is where life grows. She said that we all have a heart.

For more information about the museum check this link out:

It was such a great evening. I cannot wait to go back to the Gardens for another lovely time.

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