LAKELAND (March 12, 2018) – The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College will host a panel discussion titled, “Goya, Picasso & the Heritage of Spain: Exploring Spanish Culture in Florida from 1513 to Today” on April 3, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
This free program will be held in the museum’s Kent Harrison Auditorium located at 800 E. Palmetto St.
The panel of five presenters includes art and culture specialists from four institutions across Polk and Hillsborough counties. PMA Curator and Florida Southern College Art History Professor H. Alexander Rich is the panel moderator for the program, which includes a 30-minute audience Q&A session.
Representing the University of South Florida’s Department of World Languages is Spanish Professor and Graduate Program Director Dr. David Arbesú, whose opening presentation will focus on the historical presence of Spain in Florida from Juan Ponce de León’s first expedition in 1513 to Pedro Menéndez de Avilés’ founding of St. Augustine in 1565. Arbesú is a native Spaniard who holds a doctorate in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English philology from the University of Oviedo in Spain. He has authored many articles and four books, including the 2017 edition of “Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Conquest of Florida.”
FSC Spanish Literature Professor Melissa Garr will speak about the most significant Spanish cultural encounters that took place throughout Florida’s history beginning with Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca’s text “Shipwrecked” in 1528 and ending with Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” in 1940. Garr earned her doctorate in Spanish literature from Purdue University, and her master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching Spanish language and literature at the secondary and postsecondary levels.
Polk State College Ceramics Professor Andrew Coombs will discuss the art of pottery, Picasso’s ceramics, and the recent pottery discovered at Tristan de Luna’s 1559 Settlement site in Pensacola. Coombs began his ceramics career making pinch pots in his father’s pottery studio. His academic career ranged from chemistry to philosophy and back to pottery, and he earned his master’s degree in ceramics in 2008 from the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He teaches ceramics and 3-D design courses at Polk State College’s Winter Haven campus.
Centro Español de Tampa President John A. Rañon will present on the history of Spanish immigration to Tampa and the Spanish heritage that is embedded in Tampa today. Rañon is a first-generation Spanish-American and lifelong Tampa resident who received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of South Florida. He is a licensed civil engineer with a 35-year career history. Fluent in Spanish, Rañon’s consulting projects have included assignments in many Central and South American countries and Puerto Rico. He is an active civic leader and past president of the Ybor City Rotary Club and Ybor City Development Corporation.
This Florida Spanish history and heritage program occurs during the museum’s “Masters of Spain: Goya & Picasso” exhibition that opens March 17 and runs through June 17. Goya’s and Picasso’s iconic bullfighting images inspired the discussion theme and led panelists to create individual presentations in their areas of expertise.
This event is funded by a Florida Humanities Council Community Project Grant that was made possible through the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.
For more details about this event, contact Director of Arts Advancement Suzanne Grossberg at (863) 688-7743 x298 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College
The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, is a private, not-for-profit academic museum dedicated to promoting inspirational and engaging arts experiences for all. It is one of the Top 10 art museums in the State of Florida, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the only art museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums serving the 666,000 residents of Polk County. Museum hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays (closed Sundays June 1 through Labor Day) and closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free for everyone year-round, thanks to the following organizations: MIDFLORIDA Credit Union; the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation; and the Share Foundation. The museum is fully accessible.