Sculpture Dreams Realized at Harrison Arts Center

Published: Monday, October 7, 2013 at 7:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 7, 2013 at 7:26 p.m.
LAKELAND | If you are an artist or patron of the arts in Polk County, you most likely have heard the name “Lois Harrison” before. Harrison, who died in June, was a supporter of the arts as well as a philanthropist and social advocate.


Thanks to Harrison, an outdoor sculpture will once again be in the works for Lakeland.

The Lois Cowles Harrison Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in Lakeland was founded in 1989 and named after Harrison for her statewide prominence as an advocate of the arts. She and her husband, Homer Hooks, helped establish and fund the school.

After Harrison’s passing, the school received money from her estate, with a portion of the money earmarked for creation of a sculpture at the school.
Craig Collins, former principal at Harrison School for the Arts, had begun planning in 2003 for the construction of a sculpture prior to Harrison’s donation. A concrete slab was built years ago in preparation for the original sculpture. Construction was temporarily suspended when the school had to use money designated for the sculpture to fund its motion-picture arts program. With the money left by Harrison, construction for the sculpture is possible once again.

The piece has been designed by Tampa artist Clayton Swartz. A proposed name for the sculpture is simply “Lois.”
“It’s a lovely tribute to her,” Hooks said. “It speaks for itself. It is simple and beautiful. It embodies all of the lovely qualities Lois had.”
The sculpture is a modern design and features three pillars of differing heights being embraced by colorful “arms.”
“The sculpture embodies Lois’ affinity for modern art, her love for the use of color, and the many organizations that she embraced,” said Collins.

Harrison was involved with organizations such as the Lakeland Human Relations Council, the Spouse Abuse Advisory Board of the Peace River Center for Personal Development, and the Florida Fine Arts Council. She was also president of Planned Parenthood of Florida, the League of Women Voters of Polk County and the Florida Ethics Commission. Two years ago, Harrison was presented with the “Influential Woman of the 20th Century” award by the League of Women Voters of Polk County. She raised money for the Imperial Symphony Orchestra as well. Harrison also helped with the funding and establishment of the current location of the Polk Museum of Art.

“The sculpture will serve as a beacon of artistic inspiration throughout Polk County, encouraging individuals to seek excellence and to engage in our communities,” said Collins.
Swartz said the sculpture should take about three months to fabricate. The piece will then be unveiled with a special dedication ceremony.

Swartz Art

5609 Park Blvd,

Pinellas Park, FL 33781

Phone. 727-421-0553