Captiva & Hurricane Ian

man on beach

Robert Rauschenberg in front of the beach house, 1983. Photo: Unattributed

Captiva & Hurricane Ian

As we learn more about the effects of Hurricane Ian on the Captiva campus, this news post will be updated.

October 14, 2022

We are deeply touched by the concern we continue to hear from the many creative practitioners who have enjoyed the singular pleasures of a Captiva residency as well as other colleagues and friends about Hurricane Ian’s impact on the Foundation’s staff and campus in Captiva.

Thankfully, our Florida staff are safe, although like so many in the region two of their homes were badly flooded. We are just beginning to see the damage to the buildings and the landscape firsthand, and it wouldn’t be prudent to speculate on the magnitude of the damage. It will be necessary over the coming weeks for multiple experts from a variety of fields to get onto the island and file detailed reports that will guide our future thinking and actions.

The good news is that all the buildings are still standing even though they are damaged to varying degrees. There were no archival materials or any of Bob’s art on site, save for one bronze outdoor work that weathered the storm. There is still no electricity or running water on Captiva, the remains of flooding are everywhere, and there is a massive amount of debris and sand. Our next step is to clear this debris in order to allow others to safely gain access and begin to assess the damage in a more detailed manner. This will be a long process.

Captiva experienced and recovered from numerous hurricanes during Bob’s time and since his death, but Ian was singular in its destructive impact. As many of us know, Bob was an environmental activist and we have followed his concerns in the recent two year sustainability study and resulting actions to protect the buildings and landscape from rising waters. We will continue to provide periodic updates in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we wish our colleagues and friends, as well as those who share this beautiful coastline in Florida, a safe journey as they clean up from this devastating storm.

September 29, 2022

We are very grateful for the care and concern our art community has for the Foundation’s artists in residence program in Captiva, Florida. Our hearts go out to the residents who have been devastated by Hurricane Ian. The pictures of Ft Myers, across the now severed causeway that connects our Captiva campus to the mainland, are frightening and several of our staff still do not know the conditions of their homes as is the case with so many who live on the beautiful west coast of Florida. We are thankful that all our staff is safe as they evacuated Captiva on Wednesday after two days of preparation for the hurricane. While they are experienced, Ian was exceptionally strong and we don’t know what to expect when we are able to step back onto the island. At this time we have been unable to return to the campus so we have no information on its condition. As soon as we have some facts on the conditions and pictures of Captiva —a joyful place for Rauschenberg that he wanted to share with artists who came after him — we will share them. Now we just wait and hope.