Platform Art and the Polk County Veterans Council are designing a monument to recognize the Spanish-American War and Lakeland’s unique role within it. The monument, a bronze sculpture with a base faceted in high-relief visual narrative scenes, will stand in Veterans’ Memorial Park when completed. The Spanish-American War is the only not yet recognized in the park, and there are few monuments to the war anywhere in the country. Fewer still to the Buffalo Soldiers who led the successful campaigns of the war. But Lakeland lays claim to a piece of this overlooked history, as hundreds of soldiers were stationed here on their way to fight.
Artist Becky Ault, of Art Research Enterprises, Inc. has drafted incredible sketches for the sculpture’s design. The panel scenes will be designed by local student artists. We are committed to giving young artists unique opportunities, and with Polk County Schools we host design competitions for public art pieces. Using our signature public art model, we will facilitate workshops and critiques with Ault and student artists at high schools throughout the county as they develop their designs. The young artists with the winning designs will get to work with Ault and assist at her fabrication studio, learning new techniques and meeting professional artists.
To complement the public artwork, we are producing a documentary film and a speaker series. The salon-style speaker events will feature local historians and other subject experts, and focus in particular on Cuba’s War for Independence and the Buffalo Soldiers. Join us in January, May, and August for these events!