The town of Surfside, Florida, has seen an outpouring of support in the past week following the horrific collapse of the Champlain Towers condominium, which has left at least 18 people dead and 145 others still unaccounted for. Artists are now stepping in to do their part: a new art fundraiser will help the victims and families impacted by the tragedy.
The works include prints, photography, sculpture, and design by Miami-based artists such as Manuel Angarita, Nicole Salcedo, and Alette Simmons-Jimenez. Prices range from $80 to $28,000, making it possible for art collectors, enthusiasts, and supporters of varying means to pitch in. The fundraiser is organized by Showfields in partnership with the Knight Foundation.
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Half of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the Support Surfside hardship fund, which provides immediate cash support to those impacted and helps secure basic relief, housing, and mental health services. (Several artists have chosen to donate the entirety of their proceeds to the fund, a spokesperson for Showfields told Hyperallergic.)
The partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo on June 24 has roiled the community of Surfside, an otherwise quiet and mostly residential oceanfront town six miles north of Miami Beach. Search and rescue teams have been working around the clock 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 surfaced in recent days as part of an ongoing investigation, including concerning evidence of “major structural damage” detailed in a 2018 engineer’s report. Repairs were set to begin last month — three years later — on the crumbling concrete and cracked columns of the pool deck and garage of the 12-story complex, likely caused by water leaks and corrosive salt air.
Agustina Ferrell, a Miami local whose friend was a resident of the condominium, says it is important to keep advocating for the victims and their loved ones.
“She lit up every room she walked into. Every person she impacted she did so with a smile and love,” Ferrell told Hyperallergic. “She is fighting for her life so we must continue to fight for her, for all of those unaccounted for, and for their families.”
Some of the works in the fundraiser evoke the powerful sense of collective solace and solidarity that has emerged in the wake of the tragedy. Salcedo, a Cuban-American artist, chose to include her digital drawing “Celestial Bodies I,” depicting two bodies intertwined in an embrace against a deep blue sky and palm trees.
“The piece is one of two images that I made at the start of lockdown in 2020 as a limited edition series,” Salcedo told Hyperallergic. “This image is meant to give hope and comfort to those who are feeling isolated and alone, so I felt it would resonate.”