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The South Florida Roundup

Takeaways from this year’s hurricane season, plus artist diversity and NFTs at Miami Art Week

View from an Art Basel media reception with a walk-through of the Meridians installation area inside the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Carl Juste
/
Miami Herald
On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, Art Basel held a media reception with a walk-through of the Meridians installation area inside the Miami Beach Convention Center.

South Florida didn’t see a major storm this hurricane season, but rapid intensification could catch people by surprise next season. Also, Miami Art Week’s representation, equity, and non-fungible tokens (a.k.a. NFTs).

Hurricane season officially ended Nov. 30, and South Florida was once again spared from any major storms. However, other states and countries weren’t as lucky.

There were 21 named storms, making this the third-most active and costliest season. One of the most notable storms was Hurricane Ida, which caused more than $60 billion in damages from Louisiana to New England. It was also one of the deadliest hurricanes, killing 26 people in Louisiana and about 50 in the Northeast.

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The turbulent power of Hurricane Ida is an example of what many meteorologists call “rapid intensification.” It’s the increase in a storm’s maximum sustained winds of at least 35 mph in a 24-hour period.

WLRN’s environmental reporter Jenny Staletovich said rapid intensification is hard for scientists to view in real-time.

“It happens internally, and the internal changes in a storm structure are hard to pick up on a satellite,” Staletovich said.

She added that nowadays, it’s more common to see storms undergo rapid intensification compared to decades ago.

“In the 1980s, there was a 1 in 100 chance that a storm would rapidly intensify. Now, it’s 1 in 20,” said Staletovich, attributing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Rapid intensification can affect how local emergency officials communicate evacuation plans to residents. Tracy Jackson, Broward County's director of regional emergency services said his team is always monitoring developing storms from the moment they form off the African coast to when they're cleared from South Florida’s view.

“We run models and we anticipate that the storm is going to go from whatever category it is to the next one up, and then we plan for that category,” said Jackson. “Communication is key because in a short timeframe, there’s so many pieces that you have to begin moving that it really requires us to anticipate what might happen.”

The next hurricane season begins June 3, 2022, but forecasters might move that start date to May 15 after 2021 became the seventh year in a row to have named storms before the official start of the season.

Miami Art Week representation

While this year’s Miami Art Week comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s also the first since the social justice reckoning protests and movement in the summer of 2020. Inclusion and equity are still major topics of discussion, especially in the art world.

Mikhaile Solomon is the Prizm Art Fair director. This particular fair is known for its statement of diversity and inclusion. Solomon said she started Prizm after she noticed there wasn’t much representation of diverse voices at art fairs like Art Basel.

“We just realized how important it is to acknowledge our collective humanity and to ensure that artists, no matter what ethnic background you come from, have representation in what has become a huge economic driver in Miami’s community,” Solomon said.

Dejha Carrington is the co-founder and executive director of Commissioner, an arts membership program. She said that Miami Art Week offers the community a time to gather amidst inequity that happens year-round.

“We need to continue organizing,” said Carrington. “Art Basel, and the fair marketplace, it very much is around the dynamics and the economy of the art marketplace, and that moves at a different pace as social justice does.”

Miami Art Week NFTs

Artists and investors are exploring the novel way to purchase contemporary art: NFTs.

NFT stands for “non-fungible token,” and it allows people to buy or sell an art piece’s digital file. It’s part of blockchain, which is the same technology behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

A digital work, such as memes and GIFs, can now be owned, which gives creatives and artists the ability to put a price on their work. NFTs can help artists maintain royalties over their intellectual property if it’s sold and resold.

Jorge Cortes is the co-founder of BitBasel, a company that creates NFTs for artwork in different mediums. He mentioned how artists can take advantage of selling NFTs once they know how it works.

“We have dozens of local artists here in Miami that were previously selling their art pieces for perhaps $200, $300, and now with the proper mindset in understanding their technology as a new technique, they are being able to sell their pieces as NFTs for two or three or five Ethereum," Cortes said.

He added that this digital money could be worth more than $10,000.

Amber Amortegui is a senior studying journalism at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Born and raised in Davie, Fla., Amber is a native South Floridian who embraces one of America’s most diverse regions.