Learn About Florida's Spanish History and Culture at the Polk Museum of Art

The Polk Museum of Art encourages Central Florida residents to attend their free-of-charge "Goya, Picasso & the Heritage of Spain: Exploring Spanish Culture in Florida from 1513 to Today" panel discussion on Tuesday, April 3, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

This interactive program designed for an intergenerational multicultural audience will give participants the opportunity to learn more about Florida’s unique Spanish history and culture. The event will take place in the Museum’s Kent Harrison Auditorium, 800 E. Palmetto St. in Lakeland.

The program will start with a 30-minute self-guided tour of the Museum’s "Masters of Spain: Goya & Picasso" exhibition, which served as the inspiration for aligning this panel discussion with Florida’s Spanish history. The fine art show includes Goya’s well-known "Tauromaquia" (Bullfighting) etching series and Picasso’s little known ceramic plates, one of which depicts a bullfighting scene, among other works. A networking reception hosted by Florida Southern College will be available simultaneously to enable guests the opportunity to share their viewing experiences.

At 7 p.m., PMA Curator and Florida Southern College Art History Professor Dr. H. Alexander Rich will lead the 60-minute panel presentation by introducing the program’s overarching theme and asking the audience to consider the following: If Goya and Picasso identified the bullfight as the most potent symbol of Spanish tradition, what can we identify as essentially Spanish in Florida today? Dr. Rich will also set the historical context of Goya and Picasso’s work, introduce the panelists, and facilitate the 30-minute Q & A session with the panelists following their presentations.

The distinguished speakers and their individual topics include University of South Florida Spanish Professor Dr. David Arbesú, who will focus on the history 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; FSC Spanish Literature Professor Dr. Melissa Garr, who will present Florida’s Spanish literary history from Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca’s text "Shipwrecked" in 1528 to Ernest Hemingway’s "For Whom the Bell Tolls" in 1940; Polk State College Ceramics Professor Andrew Coombs, who will discuss the art of pottery, Picasso’s ceramics, and pottery discovered at Tristan de Luna's 1559 Settlement site in Pensacola; and Centro Español de Tampa President John A. Rañon, who will address the history and living legacy of Spanish immigration to Tampa.

This collaborative educational program is funded by a Florida Humanities Council (FHC) Community Project Grant that was made possible through the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the FHC or NEH. For more information, contact Director of Arts Advancement Suzanne Grossberg here.