Rachel Frisby, 2009

Curator, Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

I’ve been working as a museum Curator/Programming Director for the past 4 years in Winter Park, FL, just outside Orlando.  I work at a wonderful historic home and sculpture gardens; the home of Albin Polasek, a world-renown Czech/American sculptor.  He’s the sculptor of the Woodrow Wilson monument in Prague, and created much of the public sculpture in Chicago, where he taught at the Art Institute of Chicago for 30 years as the head of their sculpture department.  We have the largest collection of Polasek sculpture in the world, and are the ONLY historic Artist Home and STUDIO in the state of Florida; 1 of only 36 in the country part of the National Trust’s Historic Artists Homes and Studios Consortium.  Our grounds are lovely, located right on Lake Osceola. We have become known as a Mecca for classical sculpture as well as our story of inspiration!  We recently made national news by successfully saving and fundraising to preserve the historic Capen House, built 1885, and relocate, by barge, to our property.  The last two years, I have spent renovating our sculpture gardens; relocating 17 sculptures, upgrading ADA facility requirements and re-envisioning our thematic approach.  My goal is to let the sculpture speak.

My job consists of creating temporary exhibitions for our Polasek Gallery, a space that I change out every 3 months with exciting contemporary and historic collections. I plan all the programming out for two years, including exhibitions. I am charged with the care of an outdoor collection, which keeps me very busy with preventive conservation, as well as the care of 4 historic buildings on our campus, and the care of our indoor decorative art collection as well. 

I love my job because it’s always something different from day-to-day.  I could be visiting a collector's home, judging an art festival, waxing a giant bronze sculpture, preparing an educational event, writing interpretive text, or giving a curatorial tour. This place keeps me on my toes and it can be exhausting, but it’s incredibly rewarding to use my degree and to see how much positive change I have accomplished in just a few years.  Small institutions are great, because you can implement change quickly and actually get to achieve goals and ideas relatively fast.   The highlight of my career here, thus far, was giving a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum to a delegation from the Czech Republic and meeting their Deputy Prime Minster.  It was very special to share the collection and home of Albin Polasek with his fellow countrymen.

I use every class from KU Muse program…it’s my basis for ethics with collections, board relations, conservation, registration methods and exhibition design.  I am always the advocate for the collection and I have to fight for every collection/conservation related project.  I am able to be passionate about what we need and insist upon it, because of the classes from KU and understanding museum standards. If I had to give advice to up-and-coming Muse students I would strongly urge them to take practical courses that they will use, rather than more history or art course work.  I WISH I would have taken grant writing courses, website design, fundraising, and Adobe Design classes.  Those would have helped me so much more than say Renaissance history, even though those are great classes. Stress and learn social media, social media, and social media.

Go JAYHAWKS!!!! And Orlando STRONG!!!! :)

Check us out on FB https://www.facebook.com/PolasekMuseum/  You can see all my newest exhibitions and events.

The Albin Polasek Museum & Scuplture Gardens is located at:
633 Osceola Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
www.polasek.org


Museum Events

Pursuing Elusive Equity in Higher Education
Talk by Professor Jennifer Hamer
​Tuesday, March 28 | 7:30 p.m.
The Commons, Spooner Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS

Building KU CommUnity Potluck
Thursday March 30 | 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Ecumenical Campus Ministries
1204 Oread Lawrence, KS
RSVP via FaceBook

Brent Learned, Artist Event
Friday, March 31 | 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Phoenix Gallery
825 massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS
Information about the artist and gallery

Art of Conversation: Social Service/Social Justice
Friday, March 31 | 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Watkins Museum of History
1047 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS
Further information

Talk: Up Close: American Dream
Sunday, April 2 | 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art
1301 Mississippi St., Lawrence, KS
On KU Campus
Event description

Film: Out in the Night
Thursday, April 6 | 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art Auditorium
1301 Mississippi St., Lawrence, KS
On KU Campus
Further information on the film

Public Film Screening
Francofonia by Alexander Sokurov
Cinemuse: Selfie with Sokurov by Dragan Kujundzic
Friday April 7 | 6 p.m.
Kansas Union, Centennial Room

Grant Develpment as a Professional Skill Workshop
Wednesday April 19 | 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Hall Center for the Humanities 
Seminar Room 1
900 Sunnyside Ave.
RSVP to hgdo@ku.edu or call 785.864.7833
by April 12

First National African American Quilt Convention
July 12-15, 2017
TBD, Lawrence, Kansas
http://www.naaqc.org/

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