Katherine Fleming is the founder and director of Bridge Initiative, a nonprofit that bridges art and science to create public art for environmental advocacy. The mission of Bridge is to be a conduit to shift the collective consciousness- making planet earth the priority through the lens of compelling and impactful artworks.
The organization came into fruition in 2015 after Fleming’s explorations in Antarctica allowed her to witness the enduring impact of climate change. Fleming’s mission became to synchronize art and advocacy for a positive impact. Prior to her advocacy work and the founding of Bridge Initiative, Fleming graduated from the eminent Parsons School of Design in New York City. She worked as a creative director, entrepreneur, and advisor in the luxury fashion sector and her early design foundation would prove instrumental in her mission to draw awareness to the global climate crisis through the arts.
Through Fleming’s leadership, Bridge has connected artists, scientists, and disruptors together to create collaborative campaigns, which highlight facets of the climate crisis within localized and global environments. In 2018, Bridge conducted its inaugural project – an expedition with artist David Benjamin Sherry in conjunction with the Alaska Whale Foundation. The educational and immersive experience captured and documented the issues of human wildlife impact, habitat degradation, and dramatic glacier melt in the remote and pristine ecosystems in America.
Bridge Initiative and local nonprofit Bas Fisher Invitational (BFI) have combined to form a symbiotic partnership to illuminate South Florida’s climate and environmental issues using advocacy, public art campaigns and installations throughout Miami. The partnership is known as Waterproof Miami. Waterproof underscores Bridge’s greater mission on a localized scale as a cohesive campaign of artist collaborations and focused commissioned projects, curated by Fleming and BFI founder and artist, Naomi Fisher. Waterproof Miami’s inaugural project was the production and installation of the Coral City Camera, a 24 hour live feed of urban reef life in Biscayne Bay. Coral City Camera was created in collaboration with artist and scientist duo Coral Morphologic. Waterproof Miami has been recognized with support from the Knight Arts Challenge, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the distinction of support from the Andy Warhol Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cowles Charitable Trust, as well as The Florida Council of Arts and Culture. Most recently, the organization was honored as a recipient of the 2020 Knight Foundation Arts Champion Award.
Notably, Katherine Fleming serves as the Vice Chair of BlueLab Preservation Society, whose purpose is to help address water pollution, climate change, and environmental issues by utilizing art, science, culture, and design as a galvanizing channel for sustainable change. A pinnacle project for BlueLab, The Reefline, is an environmentally-functioning artwork, artificial reef and public park to run 7 miles along the coast of Miami Beach’s shoreline, providing a critical habitat for endangered reef organisms and enhancing coastal resilience. Together with BlueLab’s Chair Ximena Caminos, Fleming will be serving on the board of BlueLab as well as creative council for The Reefline.
Fleming’s work with Bridge Initiative, Waterproof, and BlueLab continues to draw attention from the contemporary art community and environmental sector alike. Her advocacy work has led her to ongoing partnerships and relationships with artists, designers, and contemporary leaders such as David Benjamin Sherry, Alaska Whale Foundation, Coral Morphologic, NOAA, Michele Oka Doner, Orlando Estrada, The Everglades Foundation and Carlos Betancourt among others.
Ariane Marder is an established editor and writer specializing in marketing and editorial content and direction for lifestyle brands, namely in fashion and travel. As Director of Content at Figue, a luxury fashion brand, the NYU graduate led the development of brand marketing and editorial content strategies across multiple platforms from the ground up. She also developed partnerships and oversaw collaborations for “Give Back” programs (Nest, The Brave Collection, Ethiopian Children’s Fund, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, One Kings Lane).
In addition, Ariane has served as a magazine editor and contributor to a number of fashion and lifestyle publications. She has spent time living in East Africa, which she calls her second home, developing content for artisan-based business Ziya Kenya. Most recently, she consulted for Relief Riders, a humanitarian-based company which designs and leads horseback journeys through remote areas while providing aid to rural populations.
Matisse Bustos-Hawkes is a seasoned strategic communications professional and founder of Otro Lado Communications with 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit and social change sectors. She was a longtime senior staffer at WITNESS, the global organization founded by musician and activist Peter Gabriel that makes it possible for anyone to harness the power of video and technology to promote and protect human rights. Matisse has supported social justice campaigns with partners from Burma to Brazil, Congo to Cambodia, and beyond. Employing a holistic approach to communications, she is experienced in strategic planning, earned media, social media, event management, brand development, fundraising, and professional development for teams of changemakers. Matisse is committed to building strategic partnerships and empowering diverse teams whose purpose is making the world a more just, equitable, and habitable place to live.