Artists Support Surfside Condo Collapse Victims

Nicole Salcedo, “Celestial Bodies I” (2020), digital drawing, available as part of a Fundraising for Surfside Support. (image courtesy of Showfields)

The town of Surfside, Florida has seen a surge of support over the past week following the gruesome collapse of the Champlain Towers condominium, which left at least 18 dead and 145 others still missing. The artists are now stepping in to do their part: a new art fundraiser will help the victims and families affected by the tragedy.

The works include prints, photographs, sculptures, and drawings by Miami-based artists such as Manuel Angarita, Nicole Salcedo, and Alette Simmons-Jimenez. Prices range from $ 80 to $ 28,000, allowing art collectors, enthusiasts and supporters of various means to participate. The fundraiser is organized by Showfields in partnership with the Knight Foundation.

Half of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Support Surfside distress fund, which provides immediate financial support to those affected and helps ensure basic relief, housing and mental health services. (Several artists have chosen to donate their entire profits to the fund, a Showfields spokesperson told Hyperallergic.)

Sculptural vases by Cydne Jasmin Coleby sold to benefit the Support Surfside fund. (courtesy Showfields)

The partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo on June 24 rocked the community of Surfside, an otherwise quiet and predominantly residential beachfront town six miles north of Miami Beach. Search and rescue teams have worked tirelessly to sift through the rubble, but no survivors have been found so far.

Although the cause of the collapse has not yet been determined, new details have emerged in recent days as part of an ongoing investigation, including regarding evidence of “major structural damageDetailed in a 2018 engineering report. Repairs were due to start last month – three years later – on the crumbling concrete and cracked columns of the 12-story resort’s pool deck and garage, likely caused by water leaks and corrosive salt air.

Agustina Ferrell, a Miami resident whose friend resided in the condominium, says it’s important to continue to stand up for the victims and their loved ones.

“She lit up every room she entered. Every person she touched did it with a smile and love, ”Ferrell told Hyperallergic. “She is fighting for her life, so we must continue to fight for her, for all those missing and for their families.”

Some of the fundraising works evoke the powerful sense of consolation and collective solidarity that emerged in the aftermath of the tragedy. Salcedo, a Cuban-American artist, chose to include her digital drawing “Celestial Bodies I, Depicting two bodies entwined in an embrace against a deep blue sky and palm trees.

“The coin is one of two images I made at the start of the lockdown in 2020 as a limited edition series,” Salcedo told Hyperallergic. “This image is meant to give hope and comfort to those who feel isolated and alone, so I felt it would resonate.”

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