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Unconditional Surrender in Sarasota

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Miami may be Florida’s first city of art, hosting the famous show Art Basel Miami Beach. But Sarasota isn’t far behind. Not only is there the Ringling Museum of Art, which I’m going to visit soon, but there is top-rate outdoor art thanks to the Sarasota Season of Sculpture.

Right now, “Unconditional Surrender” by J. Seward Johnson is on display. This 26-ft.-tall sculpture is based on the famous photograph “The Kiss at Times Square” taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine on V-J Day on Aug. 14, 1945.

Those who really, really love the sculpture may want to consider renewing their marriage vows in front of it. Seriously. On Valentine’s Day at 10 AM, Sarasota Season of Sculpture and the Sarasota County Veterans Commission are hosting “A Monumental Valentine’s Day Kiss.” For $100, each couple receives a “remarriage certificate” and a photograph of themselves kissing under the sculpture. Champagne, wedding cake and flowers are included too.

But perhaps the best part is that the proceeds of the event will go towards the purchase of Unconditional Surrender so Sarasota can enjoy the sculpture forever. Which is pretty amazing considering that when the statue first showed up in Sarasota, it wasn’t well received and they ended up sending it to San Diego. Looks like they were finally swept up in the kiss.

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