Gretchen Scharnagl, "FLOR 497: Poisonwood", gouache and pencil, 15 X 11 ¼ inches, 2011 (CC).
About the artist
South Florida suburban artist, Gretchen Scharnagl, creates work that is a hybridization of environmental issues, commentaries on the human condition, and suburban natural history. She is interested in ideas of authorship, collaboration and the ephemeral. Currently she is a visiting lecturer at Florida International University.
Through hurricanes and human encroachment, the loss of natural habitats reduces the number of poisonwood trees. With homeowner’s reluctance to plant this noxious tree, the native white-crowned pigeon loses this important traditional element in their diet. Scientists do not know what the long-term effects will be for this near-threatened species
FLOR500 is a participatory art, nature, and history project that marks the importance of the moment when the history of Florida changed forever and gives a glimpse of what its landscape was like 500 years ago. Developed by Xavier Cortada, director and artist-in-residence of FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts’ Office of Engaged Creativity, the project commemorates Florida’s quincentenary in 2013.