Still beating a year, 50 years later: Pulse and the Summer of Love in Winter Park

Art and love trump hate at this historic sculpture garden.

Katty Smith's "Sleeping With Angels, A Tribute to Pulse" has the first name of each Pulse victim inscribed on it.Cathy SalustriSummer of Love: Reflections on Pulse

Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, 633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park.

Through Sept. 3: Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1-4 p.m.

$3-$5; members, free.

407-647-6294. polasek.org.

click to enlarge Each milk bottle has the name and photo of a Pulse victim. - Photo by Cathy Salustri
Photo by Cathy Salustri
Each milk bottle has the name and photo of a Pulse victim.

The Summer of Love celebrates its 50th anniversary in San Francisco this summer.

All but two of the 49 humans who were murdered inside the Pulse Nightclub last summer weren't alive for the Summer of Love; none of them remain to celebrate its silver anniversary this year.

This tragic link makes Summer of Love: Reflections on Pulse exhibit at the Albin Polasek even more powerful. As you walk through the exhibit, the juxtaposition of lives lived in love and ended in hate hits you anew at each piece — and in a different part of your soul.

click to enlarge Orlando artist Byron Walker's "The World Was Touched by the Sanctuary's Compromise" artist's statement remarks that the reaction was love. - Cathy Salustri
Cathy Salustri
Orlando artist Byron Walker's "The World Was Touched by the Sanctuary's Compromise" artist's statement remarks that the reaction was love.

There's the disk with 49 bent nails, which evokes images of a police diagram of how the shooting must have looked and also calls to mind Martin Sherman's heartbreaking play Bent.

There's the painting of the swan superimposed over Lake Eola and a vigil; at the bottom, a swirl of gray and black paint creates a gruesome homage to the horrors inside the nightclub last June.

Sleeping With Angels has each victim's name on the hurdled form; in another, 49 milk bottles have 49 portraits of the victims, à la the "Have You Seen This Child?" campaign.

Some — like the oversized plush Rabbit — evoke whimsy with the exhortation to love how you want. Some seemingly have no ties to the tragedy or the Summer of Love at all. That's OK, says curator Rachel Frisby.

According to Frisby, the exhibit — an open call juried show — brought submissions from around the world. The idea was to remember the victims and honor their memories and to assert, as the museum's website asserts, "the Polasek Museum stands collectively with the firm belief that art has the power to transcend hate."

About The Author

Cathy Salustri

Cathy's portfolio includes pieces for Visit Florida, USA Today and regional and local press. In 2016, UPF published Backroads of Paradise, her travel narrative about retracing the WPA-era Florida driving tours that was featured in The New York Times. Cathy speaks about Florida history for the Osher Lifelong Learning...
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