Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens
633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789 - United States
Founded in 1961, the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park, Florida, will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2021. A special year of programming is scheduled throughout 2021 to mark the occasion including four world-class exhibitions, the 13th annual Winter Park Paint Out plein air festival, special items on display from the Polasek archives all year, and a 60th anniversary gala celebration.
Albin Polasek (1879-1965) was born in Moravia, now part of the Czech Republic, and immigrated to the U.S. in 1901 to work as a wood carver. After successfully completing and being awarded various accolades during his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the American Academy in Rome, he started a studio in New York. In 1916, he became head of the Department of Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, a position he held for 27 years. Shortly after moving to Winter Park in 1950, Polasek suffered a stroke that permanently paralyzed the left side of his body. Even so, he masterfully completed 18 additional works.
Polasek and his wife Emily established the Albin Polasek Foundation, now the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, in 1961 to share Polasek’s life’s works with the public, including 200 pieces of art and his self-designed home, studio, and three-acre sculpture garden on Lake Osceola. The foundation contributed to the culture of Winter Park and Central Florida in many ways, including the donation of the sculptures Forest Idyl and Emily Fountain to the City of Winter Park, the long-term loan of Man Carving His Own Destiny to the Winter Park Public Library.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios Program. This places the Polasek Museum in a prestigious group alongside the homes of Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock, and Winslow Homer, among others. Polasek was posthumously named a Great Floridian in 2000 and inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004 for his “strong and sustained commitment toward the development of cultural excellence.”
Today the Polasek Museum offers inspiring docent-led tours of Polasek’s home and studio illustrating his life story of immigrating to the United States in 1901, becoming a celebrated artist, and continuing to create monumental works of art from his wheelchair after suffering a debilitating stroke at 71. Visitors can self-tour Polasek’s lakeside garden with 50+ pieces of outdoor sculpture.
The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens is pleased to announce its fall exhibition, Gilbert Salinas: Among the Chaos. The exhibition will run from August 30 through December 4, 2022.
In this body of work, the mixed media artist Gilbert Salinas poses the dichotomy that coexists in constant opposition within humans: the purely biological aspects that concern us as multicellular organisms and the psychological depth that constructs us as individuals and members of society.
With evolution as the only theoretical framework, Salinas visits the concepts of survival, evolutionary economics, social development, collective identity, and the constant rethinking of ethical and moral constructs, as well as exploring mental health.
The concern for transformation is present in the work of this Puerto Rican artist from the creative process. In his studio practice, traditional media such as acrylic and varnish are merely elements ready for experimentation. Under the meticulous intervention of the artist, the materials mix and fuse to develop into rich textures that accentuate on the canvas his understanding of the human being as the most visceral product of science.
Docent-led Albin Polasek Historic Home Tours
Saturday Tour Times:
10:15am, 11:30am, 1:15pm, 2:45pm
Self-led Sculpture Garden Tours
Along with the tours of the historic property, families are invited to participate in an art activity! Visitors are also encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in our lakefront gardens.
Participation in Museum Day is open to any tax-exempt or governmental museum or cultural venue on a voluntary basis. Smithsonian magazine encourages museum visitation, but is not responsible for and does not endorse the content of the participating museums and cultural venues, and does not subsidize museums that participate.