|International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8th every year.|
In 2017, the IWD had ten partners—a very interesting mix of mainstream businesses including Avon, Pepisco and bp. (“You’ve come a long way baby.”)
There was even a theme: #BeBoldForChange. And a color: Red. The day was celebrated worldwide with marches and workers’ strikes.
Women were asked to not go into work and to not spend any money in order to demonstrate women’s economic power. I’m not in favor of this aspect of it. Unfortunately, most women can’t afford to take off from work and not spending money may actually hurt workers.
But I was happy to wear a bright red blouse as I headed off for a visit to the Alvin Polasek Museum in Winter Park (adjacent to Orlando) in Florida. It was a tour that had been planned months ago—a group of senior citizens and a group of students from nearby Rollins College were to take the tour together as part of an inter-generational program.
I was sad to see that only one other person (a female student) was wearing red. We were apparently the only two people out of about a group of 30 who wanted to celebrate and show solidarity with IWD.
The Polasek Museum is treasure. The main building is the actual house and workshop of Albin Polasek (1879-1965), a well-known and widely acclaimed sculptor and artist. He was born in Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic) and immigrated to the United States in 1901. So visiting this museum was also a way of celebrating the contributions of immigrants to the united States.
After touring the house, the group went out to the garden—three acres overlooking Lake Osceola. The walk allowed us to see dozens of magnificent sculptures and statues surrounded by lush landscaping. (It was almost like a botanical garden.) Many of these statues were in this garden when Polasek was alive.
Towards the end of the tour, we came upon a beautiful bronze statue of a woman done in 1925. It is named “Unfettered.” It shows a woman poised and confident with one arm gracefully extended to the heavens.
|"Unfettered" is a sculpture by Alvin Polasek.|
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which gave women the right to vote was ratified in 1920. This statue was done to honor women’s suffrage.
This piece was done as a companion piece to his 1907 sculpture “Man Carving His Own Destiny” (Polasek did 53 different variations of this sculpture over his lifetime. The one on display elsewhere in the garden was done in 1961.) Both pieces are done in the classical tradition which celebrates the nude form.
|"Man Carving His Own Destiny" by Alvin Polasek|
The Polasek Museum is located in Winter Park, Florida. Be sure to spend a few hours there if you are in the Orlando area.
© Catherine Giordano 2018