© 2022 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

'Unconditional Surrender' Statue To Stay On Sarasota's Bayfront

large statue in a park of a sailor kissing a woman
A depiction of where the Unconditional Surrender statue would be placed, between O'Leary's and Marina Jack's at Sarasota's Bayfront Park.

A giant statue modeled after an iconic photograph depicting a sailor and a woman kissing in Times Square at the end of World War II will continue to be prominently displayed along Sarasota Bay.

A statue commemorating the end of World War II will stay along Sarasota's Bayfront — but in a new location.

City commissioners voted 4 to 1 Monday to move the statue, Unconditional Surrender, away from planned road reconstruction to a park along Sarasota Bay.

The 26-foot-high statue was inspired by a famous photograph taken in New York's Times Square on V-J Day in 1945 of a World War II sailor bending over to kiss a woman. Some detractors have said that kiss was done without the woman's permission.

READ MORE: WUSF's Coverage Of Sarasota's 'Unconditional Surrender' Statue

Mayor Hagen Brody said the "statue belongs to the community," which he said has spoken.

"Art is supposed to stir emotions, it's supposed to pose questions and provoke discussion," he said, "which is exactly what we're doing here today. And if we moved this thing out of public view or in a more obscure location, I think we would lose that."

Only commissioner Jen Ahearn-Koch disagreed, saying they should have listened to the city's Public Art Committee, which had recommended it be displayed at the Sahib Shriners site on Beneva Road.

"I don't think we should be going on what we like and what we feel," she said. "I think we should also be considering what our arts experts have recommended to us."

The 25-foot statue has to be moved temporarily due to construction of the US 41-Gulfstream Avenue roundabout next year. The work is scheduled to begin in January and is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.