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Platform Art

Robin Sussingham / WUSF

Public art in the Tampa Bay area is not limited to Sarasota, Tampa or St. Petersburg. Heading east to Lakeland, there's an entire organization dedicated to showcasing local artists and bringing art to nontraditional spaces.  Platform Art,  for the last 12 years, has sponsored everything from public monuments to community gardens.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Take the single word – sacrifice – and turn it into a three dimensional sculpture that represents veterans, military service members and first responders like police and firefighters.

It’s a tall order. But a challenge that more than 50 Polk County high school art students took on for this year’s Platform Art competition.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

The area’s newest tribute to military service members, veterans and first responders will be unveiled in Lakeland this evening. It’s a sculpture of steel and glass. Designed by a high school student and crafted by a local artisan.

The non-profit group, Platform Art, is leading the collaboration behind the sculpture, the first of three pieces that will become part of Lakeland’s Veterans Memorial Park over the next three years.

McGehee Family

Army Lt. William McGehee was thrilled to learn that a poem he wrote in high school inspired another student’s work of art honoring members of the military and first responders.

Currently on his second tour in Afghanistan, it’s difficult for him to get reliable access to the internet. However, he managed to record his poem to share with all involved with the Platform Art project. And he sent along the following words to be read at the unveiling of the “Honor Sculpture” tonight, May 9, 2014, at 6:30 at Kryger Park, 108 S. Massachusetts Ave., Lakeland.