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 will commemorate Florida’s quincentenary in 2013.
Five hundred Floridians will be invited to depict 500 native wildflowers selected by a team of scientists – the same ones that grew in our state when Juan Ponce de Leon landed in 1513 and named it "La Florida”–from "flor," the Spanish word for flower. The artwork, along with information about each flower, will be posted online. Students from 500 schools across the state’s 67 counties (in 8 regions) will then plant 500 wildflower gardens dedicated to one of 500 important Floridians selected by a team of historians. These new native habitats will help support Florida’s biodiversity.