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Art committee to vote on sailor statue

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  • | 4:00 a.m. August 11, 2009
  • Sarasota
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Supporters and opponents of the “Unconditional Surrender” sculpture on the bayfront will head to City Hall Aug. 12, where the Public Art Committee will make its recommendation on the sculpture’s permanent home.
Among the supporters will be Florida Sen. Mike Bennett.

An 88-year-old anonymous donor has said he will buy “Unconditional Surrender” for $500,000 and donate it to the city, but he has one condition — the controversial sculpture has to remain on the bayfront.

Its lease was set to expire June 1, but Season of Sculpture Executive Director Brenda Terris negotiated a deal to place “Unconditional Surrender” at Ken Thompson Park. The Public Art Committee supported that move.

But just days after that decision, the World War II veteran stepped forward with his offer to buy it.

Last month, Dr. Rich Swier, president of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, asked city commissioners to accept the offer, but the commission wanted a recommendation from the Public Art Committee before making a decision.

Adding a bit of intrigue to the Aug. 12 meeting is the fact that the Public Art Committee’s chairwoman, Virginia
Hoffman, has been highly critical of “Unconditional Surrender”, calling it “worse than kitsch.”

She has publicly opposed keeping the sculpture on the bayfront, but vows to make an objective decision.


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