Had there been a public poll before Sarasota’s Public Art Committee voted Aug. 12 to reject accepting $500,000 to keep “Unconditional Surrender” on the bayfront, probably no one would have expected the committee to approve. Come on, we all know how Sarasota works: If it’s good, don’t do it.
Rich Swier, president of the Sarasota County Veterans Commission, who lobbied at the committee meeting for the statue, pegged the situation perfectly, when he told a Sarasota Observer reporter: “They voted to suit their own personal views of art. They just blew off the people of Sarasota.”
It’s not over, however. The Sarasota City Commission will have the final say next month.
Supporters of the statue should never surrender. This battle can be — and should be and will be — won.
Let’s get over the discussion of whether the statue is art. Instead focus on all of the positives it has created for the city.
We’re not the first to note this, of course, but it’s the best reason for keeping the statue on the bayfront: It draws people to the bayfront, and it makes them happy.
Keep it on the bayfront. All it needs is a spiffed-up setting, with appropriate landscaping that makes it even better and easier for tourists to visit, enjoy and snap their pictures of lasting memories.