Lay of the Land: The Art of Florida’s Cattle Culture

Through April 14 th

There are many museums big and small throughout Central Florida. But the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Garden is the only one in all of Florida that’s on the National Trust’s Register of Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios. Located in Winter Park on beautiful Lake Osceola, the museum’s permanent collection has more than 200 sculptures and other artworks, and many stunning rotating exhibits.

Albin Polasek (1879-1965) was an accomplished artist who immigrated to the United States from what is now known as the Czech Republic. He put himself through school at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1916 became the head of the sculpture department at the Art Institute of Chicago, a position he held for 27 years. He moved to Winter Park, and built his final studio and home in 1949, which is now the museum and sculpture garden.

Polasek based his works on mythological and religious figures. Many of these large sculptures are built into the beautiful landscape and found around every corner. It’s easy to spend a morning or afternoon here and lose oneself in quiet appreciation of art and nature. Benches set near most of the sculptures allow for prolonged observation of the sculptor’s works and this beautiful lakeside estate.

Inside his former home is the current exhibit, Lay of the Land: The Art of Florida’s Cattle Culture. This exhibit, curated by Rachel Frisby, presents the culture of Florida’s 500-year cattle industry. On display is a wide range of objects that represent the excitement of the rodeo and cattle drive, the unique beauty of Florida’s landscape and culture.

This exhibit, whose presenting sponsor is the Florida Cattlemen’s Foundation, spotlights an important aspect of Florida history. There are two upcoming events with this exhibit. The first is Florida Cowboy Heritage Day, a family open house, on March 24 th . The other is the Closing Reception and Cowboy Poetry reading on April 12 th . Through his art, the vision and spirit of Albin Polasek lingers at the Polasek. This treasure in Winter Park should be on the short list of museums to visit often.

633 Osceola Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789


Chris Carr is an Orlando art photographer and a contributing writer for ArtScene Press.
Image 1- Lay of the Land, the current exhibit
Image 2- Man and Beast, Albin Polasek
Image 3- Pilgrim at the Eternal Gate, Albin Polasek
Image 4- Florida cowboys painting
Photos: Chris Carr