Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Garden
633 Osceola Avenue
Winter Park FL 32789-4429
Contact Information
Address 633 Osceola Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789 4429
Phone (407) 647-6294
Fax (407) 647-0410
Web and Social Media
Donate with a credit card

The mission of the Albin Polasek Foundation, Inc., is to promote the legacy of internationally known Czech-American sculptor Albin Polasek, N.A., and to encourage education in and appreciation for figurative and representational art. The Foundation operates the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and the historic 1885 Capen-Showalter House; both sites are core to the mission of enriching the community through the power of inspiration found in our Stories, Settings and Art. In 2014, the Albin Polasek Foundation celebrated the 53rd anniversary of its founding by its visionary namesake. 

  • Our Story is Mr. Polasek’s story: one of perseverance, hard work and the pursuit of the American Dream. He arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant, led the sculpture department at the Art Institute of Chicago, and continued to create artwork with one hand, from his wheelchair, after a paralyzing stroke. We share Polasek’s story through tours of his historic home, studio and chapel as well as community outreach and educational programming.
  • Our Setting is the beautiful three-acre sculpture garden oasis on Lake Osceola. The lush gardens provide a colorful backdrop for 50 outdoor sculptures. The gardens are also home to a variety of programming, such as horticultural therapy, lakeside yoga, exercise classes and hands-on gardening.
  • Our Art is the most critical piece to fulfilling our mission and includes both our permanent collection and the visiting exhibition program. The permanent collection consists of over two hundred works, the majority of which are sculptures; and the visiting exhibition program shares diverse, enriching and interactive experiences, each exploring a different aspect of representational art.


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Deborah Jones Komanski
Board Chair Mr. Robert Sharpstein
Board Chair Company Affiliation Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
IRS Ruling Year 1966
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $1,224,152.00
Projected Expenses $1,224,152.00

The mission of the Albin Polasek Foundation, Inc., is to promote the legacy of internationally known Czech-American sculptor Albin Polasek, N.A., and to encourage education in and appreciation for figurative and representational art. The Foundation operates the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and the historic 1885 Capen-Showalter House; both sites are core to the mission of enriching the community through the power of inspiration found in our Stories, Settings and Art. In 2014, the Albin Polasek Foundation celebrated the 53rd anniversary of its founding by its visionary namesake. 

  • Our Story is Mr. Polasek’s story: one of perseverance, hard work and the pursuit of the American Dream. He arrived in the U.S. as an immigrant, led the sculpture department at the Art Institute of Chicago, and continued to create artwork with one hand, from his wheelchair, after a paralyzing stroke. We share Polasek’s story through tours of his historic home, studio and chapel as well as community outreach and educational programming.
  • Our Setting is the beautiful three-acre sculpture garden oasis on Lake Osceola. The lush gardens provide a colorful backdrop for 50 outdoor sculptures. The gardens are also home to a variety of programming, such as horticultural therapy, lakeside yoga, exercise classes and hands-on gardening.
  • Our Art is the most critical piece to fulfilling our mission and includes both our permanent collection and the visiting exhibition program. The permanent collection consists of over two hundred works, the majority of which are sculptures; and the visiting exhibition program shares diverse, enriching and interactive experiences, each exploring a different aspect of representational art.




  • Preservation Capen. In 2013, the Polasek, the Friends of Casa Feliz, and the Winter Park History Museum saved the historic 1885 Capen-Showalter House from demolition. The 200-ton house was successfully relocated to our grounds with the help of the community. We raised more than $800,000 in 15 months to preserve the house. This historic home is reopening to the public for its 130th birthday in 2015.
  • Sculpture Conservation and Exhibition. As part of restoring the Kalmanson Family Gardens, more than 16 new sculpture bases were created on site for display of our collection. A number of bases were moved closer to public walkways to ensure accessibility for all our visitors.
  • Winter Park Paint Out. In 2015, we hosted our most successful Paint Out, our signature fundraiser. More than 25,000 people were reached during the week-long event which was partially funded by a grant from Orange County and the contributions of our generous sponsors. 




  • Polasek’s Home & Studio, Restoration. In the coming year, the Foundation hopes to dedicate more resources to the preservation of this historic building, ca. 1949.
  • Capen-Showalter House Programming and Events. Now that the restoration of the house is completed, the Polasek is scheduling a new host of events and workshops to explore art, gardens, and history, with a community/local focus.
  • Landscape Improvements. Our goals include installing outdoor lighting for public safety and to highlight our gardens. The landscape office will be relocated to the east lot; the first step towards a re-working of the interior spaces of the Gallery.
  • Public Outreach & Education. In 2015, we will focus on strategic programming partnerships that will raise our community profile, including the Audubon Birds of Prey Center and the Art & History Museums—Maitland. We are expanding our educational opportunities with a historic preservation and materials workshop. A new self-led interpretive tour of our site will illuminate the significance of Polasek’s work and our collection of garden plants.




Independent Research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or program effectiveness? No
  • General Operating Expenses. Our GOE includes retention and training of professional staff, landscape supplies and maintenance, collections conservation, building maintenance, and public outreach and education. $810,000
  • Sculpture Conservation. A number of premium pieces from our collection require re-casting for public exhibition. Each sculpture must be molded, bronzed and installed on new concrete pedestals. Bid from American Bronze for three sculptures is $26,985.
  • Storage of our collection. Re-casting our sculptures--for conservation--requires new molds to be produced. These elements are expensive, and require large, climate-controlled storage for the long-term. Annual rent for storage of the molds and other collection items is approximately $5000.
  • Polasek Home entry courtyard replacement. The concrete courtyard in front of Albin Polasek's historic home and studio (ca. 1949) was a replacement installed in the 1960s. The courtyard is now cracked and the edges are broken. Removing the old concrete and pouring a new, stamped concrete courtyard will cost $17,000.


The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens was founded in 1961 by Albin Polasek, an internationally-acclaimed artist and resident of Winter Park, Florida. Polasek arrived in the U.S. in 1901 from his native Moravia (now the Czech Republic) as a wood-carving apprentice with an aspiration to follow the American Dream. Within fourteen years, he became an award-winning artist and appointed head of the Sculpture Department at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Polasek retired to Winter Park in 1949 after nearly thirty years at the Art Institute. Albin created a number of his best known sculptures in his Winter Park studio, carving one-handed from his wheelchair after a stroke caused paralysis on his left side. His Florida home, studio and gardens became the vehicle by which he ensured the lasting impact of his legacy in the arts. The Albin Polasek Foundation (established by Polasek in 1961) maintains, preserves, and exhibits more than 200 of his works on canvas, reliefs, and statuary as well as archival drawings, sketches, and photographs. Fifty outdoor sculptures are displayed within our naturalistic gardens, maintained in part by a team of dedicated volunteers. Our outdoor sculpture collection is one of the largest in the region. Polasek’s 1949-era home and studio are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are recognized as one of only 32 sites in the National Trust’s Historic Artists Homes & Studios consortium of America's most significant artists' spaces. The Foundation is now the steward of another significant historic home with the addition of the 1885 Capen-Showalter House in 2013.

The Polasek Museum is a noted cultural destination, ranked within the “Top 20 Tourist Attractions” in the region by Orlando Business Journal. The Museum and Foundation continues the work of Polasek through public education, specialized courses in the arts, music recitals, exhibits, and tours. The board is focused on increasing the Museum’s profile and impact through strategic partnerships, infrastructure improvements, and expanded programming while remaining mindful of long-term fiscal stability. The Winter Park Paint Out--our premiere fund-raising and outreach event—grows larger and more inclusive each year, with free access to art and an emphasis on breaking down social and economic barriers for diverse communities. More than 30,000 people visit our grounds annually, and we are working towards reaching each one with compelling stories in the arts.


CEO Statement

Welcome to the inspired world of internationally acclaimed Czech-American sculptor Albin Polasek. We invite you to explore his home, galleries and sculpture gardens located in the heart of Winter Park, Florida, on Lake Osceola. At the Polasek, you will discover the story of the life and work of one of the 20th century’s pre-eminent sculptors, Albin Polasek, while enjoying experiences with historic architecture and the abundance of nature.

The Polasek Museum is one of Winter Park’s cultural keystones. Our roots date back to a time when there were very few arts institutions in Central Florida. Mr. Polasek dedicated himself to creating the museum almost a half century ago. Along with his wife Emily Muska Kubat Polasek, he established the Albin Polasek Foundation and the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in 1961 as a permanent home for his art, or as he called his sculptures, “his children,” and opened the residence, galleries, gardens and chapel to the public.

The Albin Polasek Foundation (APF) remains dedicated to our mission of life-long learning and contributing to the cultural richness of our region. In addition to operating the museum, the APF has donated numerous sculptures to the cities of Winter Park and Orlando. Reproductions of Albin Polasek’s works are featured throughout Winter Park, including sites at the Public Library, City Hall, and Central Park.

Over the past decade the Albin Polasek Foundation has devoted great resources into conserving our art collection, enlarging the gardens, stabilizing our historic buildings and being a proactive member of our region's rich cultural heritage.


Board Chair Statement

On behalf of the Albin Polasek Foundation staff and trustees, thank you to all who have committed their time, talent and treasures to the Albin Polasek Foundation and the preservation of the legacy of Mr. Polasek. Your gift not only helps to carry on the timeless impact of Mr. Polasek's works, but it also serves to honor Mr. Polasek and the remarkable standard of character, citizenship and faith that he set during his lifetime.

After the death of Emily Polasek (Albin’s wife) in the late 1980s, the Board of Trustees began a transition to grow beyond a small group of her friends and family and refocus the Museum to the mission established by Albin and the Albin Polasek Foundation at its founding in 1961. The board has accomplished five of its major goals in the last 14 year--established as part of a 20-year strategic plan--through strict oversight of a modest endowment, paired with prudent fiscal management and an assertive fundraising program.

The biggest challenge--expanding our capacity with the addition of an adjacent lot and museum structure--is nearing completion. Rather than commissioning new construction, the board cooperated in a widespread effort to save the endangered 1885 Capen-Showalter House. The community enthusiasm generated during this landmark effort increased the profile of the Museum both regionally and nationwide. The board is excited to bring this 130-year-old historic building back to life for the community and ensure the stewardship of the structure into the 21st century.

Continued support and grants from local and regional organizations are key to our continued success. A website and publication project funded by a grant from the Winter Park Community Foundation funds at the Community Foundation of Central Florida, Inc., allowed the Polasek to create This website allows us to ensure fiscal stability through sales of limited edition reproductions of Albin Polasek’s most compelling sculptures. The grant also helped raise our museum shop revenue by 133% over the last year by providing funds for site-specific publications. Generous funding from Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs and the Galloway Foundation helped the organization raise the capital needed to save and restore the historic Capen-Showalter House on our east lot.

The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens has proudly served our community for over 50 years, providing one of the most unique cultural and inspirational experiences in Central Florida. The Polasek offers a holistic journey through fine arts and history. Today we strive to be engaging, dynamic and to meet the many needs and expectations of our diverse community.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

The Polasek Museum was founded in 1961, by a man with a vision to share his love of classical and figurative art with future generations. We remain dedicated to that vision. More than fifty years later, the Polasek Museum serves more than 30,000 guests annually, and contributes to the economic health of our community through its facilities, programs, and events with an estimated industry impact of $1.6 million. Recently, the Orlando Business Journal listed the Polasek Museum at number 20 of 25 “Top Tourist Attractions” in the region, ranked by 2013 paid attendance.

We strive to create a positive environment that encourages community, exploration, discovery and life-long learning. In addition to grants and private donors, support comes from our members and local businesses. In order to fulfill our mission we seek partners to help with key funding in the following areas:


  • Conservation of our historic buildings and permanent art collection;
  • Exhibition funding;
  • Educational programming;
  • Enhancement of the sculpture gardens;
  • Capacity building opportunities, including funding for internships, research, and communications.


In the past five years we have developed at all levels of our organization and continue to explore new opportunities. We invite you to help ensure that the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens continues to thrive and serve future generations.

NTEE Information
Primary Organization Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Primary Organization SubType Museums
Secondary Organization Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Organiztion SubType Arts & Culture
Areas Served
Geographic Areas Served

We primarily serve residents of and visitors to the Central Florida region. However, that constituency includes a number of international guests that seek out the home and studio of Czech-American sculptor Albin Polasek. Our Foundation also maintains a relationship with the American Friends of the Czech-Republic. The Museum also works with the City of Prague, and assisted in the 2011 re-creation of Polasek’s 1928 Woodrow Wilson monument, destroyed by the Nazis during World War II.


HelpWhat is the organization aiming to accomplish? This is the organization's ultimate goal for intended impact.

At the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, our goal is to inspire the public to enrich their own lives by learning about our art collection and exhibitions, visiting our historic buildings, and spending time in our lakeside gardens. Guests of all ages come to the Polasek in search of a meaningful connection with and new appreciation for history, culture, and the environment. Numerous recent studies confirm that children and senior citizens, in particular, thrive when exposed to the arts and nature. We strive to be the source for that audience while seeking out new opportunities to connect with underserved populations that can benefit from our collective resources.

   The Polasek Museum, originally founded by renowned Czech-American sculptor and artist Albin Polasek in 1966, is a well-established organization that has made a lifelong impact on its guests. Visitors from Central Florida, and throughout the world, return to the Polasek Museum because of our dedication to strategically improving the collection and the grounds, thereby helping to secure the long-term economic sustainability of our organization.

   In late 2013, the Polasek Museum expanded its infrastructure with the addition of Winter Park’s historic Capen-Showalter House. Built in 1885, the home was threatened with immediate demolition. In a landmark effort, the Polasek and community partners moved the house across a lake to save it. The Polasek Board of Trustees developed a five-year plan to renovate and re-use the house for exhibition areas, public events, and offices, with the goal of increasing revenue for the museum while providing an opportunity for the people to enjoy this gracious Victorian-era home.

   Our visitor demographics span every age group and socio-economic level. We engage our members through a number of annual events, including Paint-Out, which invites artists to create their works outdoors within the community of Winter Park.

   The Capen-Showalter will contribute to our regular programming with new exhibit areas featuring collections that contribute to the story of Polasek’s life and work as well as sculptures and reliefs he completed of Capen-family descendants, friends of his in Chicago. Together, the buildings, artworks, gardens, and lake views create an unduplicated experience rich in culture and history, found only at the Polasek Museum.

HelpWhat are the organization's strategies for its stated long-term goals?

There are several strategies that we will implement to accomplish our goals at the Polasek Museum. These encompass both short-term and long-term issues and will increase the overall strengths of the museum, staff, and organization.

1. Identify and build upon new partnerships with community-based organizations, focusing on cultural and educational collaborations.

2. Identify preservation and conservation needs for the historic home and studio of founder Albin Polasek, N.A., and continue our maintenance and improvement of the property for visitors.

3. Develop a comprehensive long-term plan for the outdoor sculpture gardens, including implementing quality programming and sustainable vegetation.

4. Collaborate with diverse, talented artists to host innovative exhibits in our gallery space.

HelpWhat are the organization’s capabilities for doing this? What resources, capacities, and connections support its progress towards long-term goals?

The Polasek Museum team is excited to take on new challenges in 2015. We are well situated to expand our mission and program goals. Our current staff is composed of arts and history professionals, as well as individuals well-versed in landscape design and maintenance. We have a core group of four full-time employees, eight part-time employees, and more than 150 volunteers that assist in the museum galleries, sculpture garden, and the Capen-Showalter House effort. Debbie Komanski, the executive director since January 2004, is an active member of the community, both in business and in the humanities, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1991 President’s Award from the University of Central Florida.

In the last quarter, we have added a number of key personnel and volunteers that can advance the mission of the Polasek. Christine Madrid French is project director for Preservation Capen, the continuing effort to save and re-use the historic Capen-Showalter House. Ms. French, a graduate of the University of Virginia, has worked as a program director with the National Trust for Historic Preservation as well as an architectural historian with the National Park Service. She is also the Development Coordinator for the Polasek Museum. Carynn Jackson, Executive Assistant for the Polasek, has earned a B.A. from the University of Central Florida in Anthropology and History and maintains a particular interest in historic preservation. Two prominent members of the Winter Park community are co-chairing the Preservation Capen effort: Thad Seymour, president emeritus of Rollins College, and Lawson Lamar, former Sheriff of Orange County and State Attorney for Orange and Osceola counties. These gentlemen have brought their business expertise, leadership skills, and long term-community interest to the team at the Polasek

The Polasek Museum maintains a number of professional affiliations—local, regional, and national—that benefit the position of the organization as a premiere arts and history organization. The museum is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios program and the Polasek home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

HelpHow will the organization know if it is making progress? What are the key qualitative and quantitative indicators against which the organization assesses its progress toward its intended impact?

The Polasek Museum maintains a number of key assessment markers to measure progress towards our long-term strategic goals..

-Community-based organizational partners and numbers served through these programs.
-New and retained volunteers.
-Sculptures and artwork that are assessed and preserved.
-Surveys we collect and assessments of results.
-Quality exhibits installed.
-Guests who visit the Polasek Museum and feedback on their experiences.




HelpWhat has and hasn’t been accomplished so far?

Expanding the infra-structure of the Polasek Museum was targeted as a primary goal in 2000. With the addition of the east lot—now home to the Capen-Showalter House—the museum and board fulfilled this long-term goal and are moving ahead on the next steps.

The Polasek’s story, setting and art offer three unique experiences: Albin Polasek’s historic home, outdoor sculpture gardens and changing exhibitions. 
Historic Polasek House, Studio and Chapel:
Visitors step back in time and into the life of an artist by taking a docent-led tour through the historic home and viewing a short video. Guests relive the countless hours Polasek spent creating his inspirational works and the stories behind each piece.
Gardens and Outdoor Sculptures:
Polasek’s intent was to craft his sculptures to appear as if they had grown straight out of the Earth. The lush gardens and accessible pathways  provide a colorful backdrop for 50 sculptures and are available for all guests to enjoy at their leisure. 
Acclaimed as compelling and thought-provoking, our exhibitions share the artwork and stories of local, national and international artists. Visitors experience a diverse, enriching and interactive exhibit, each exploring a different aspect of representational art. 
Population Served Adults
Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Our short-term success rate has been high in the past because visitor/member/donor expectations have been met or surpassed as expressed in visitor surveys.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Over the past five years our visitor numbers have grown by 41%, membership by over 200% and we have been awarded broader spectrum of donations and grants.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. We have utilized three separate surveys. The Polasek has also partnered with the Rollins College Crummer MBA program to conduct periodic independent surveys of our members and influential local leaders.
Examples of SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. A capital facilities improvement drive enabled us to re-roof all the buildings and to moisture seal and paint all exteriors. The second major conservation project was completed thanks to a $35,000 grant to completely restore and recast in bronze Polasek’s “Risen Christ.” Lastly and most recently, several pieces of Polasek’s work have made their way back to their home at the Museum: “Spirit of the Woods,” “Young Eve,” “Victory of Moral Law” and his 1915 Widener Gold Medal award were secured through the generosity of our Board of Trustees and several loyal donors.
Our exhibit, “Artful Strings: Four Centuries of Harp Making” in partnership with the International Harp Museum, resulted in unprecedented media coverage and admissions. Additionally, the 4th Annual Winter Park Paint Out proved to be our most successful yet. With its prestige and popularity growing among art lovers, the 2012 Winter Park Paint Out necessitated a selection panel of local arts and culture leaders to select the top 25 artists to participate. With the high caliber of Plein Air artwork and demonstrations the artists produced, The Polasek received significant community support. We broke previous attendance records and generated more than $50,000 to support the museum.
Donor support of our educational outreach programs allowed the museum to provide bus transportation to bring dozens of underserved children to the museum for a custom designed educational tour hands-on art activity. Without this type of grant support it would be impossible to make these opportunities available to the children of our region’s economically disadvantaged population.
The gardens have dramatically improved thanks to extraordinary efforts made by our volunteer Landscape Curator and Museum Trustee, Pamela Paisley. We graciously received a grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation to purchase a golf cart, which has significantly improved the volunteer Garden Team’s ability to maintain, grow and access the grounds.

Shapely Vessels: Gourds From Around the World
May 5 - Aug 9, 2015
Simultaneously feminine and masculine, exaggerated and elongated, carved or left whole in the glory of their elegant silhouette, the variety of shapes and sizes of the humble gourd are staggering. The exhibit features gourds from the native Americas, Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. This extensive collection is on loan from calabashologist, Mr. Raymond Konan. In conjunction with this exhibit, gardens feature live gourd specimens so visitors can see these natural wonders growing outdoors.

Art Legends of Orange County Collaborative Exhibition: Featuring the Work of Hal McIntosh
Aug 18 – Nov 29, 2015
Join us for this city-wide exhibition as we celebrate Central Florida’s vibrant visual arts community and honor local artists and patrons who helped shape our cultural landscape. The Polasek Museum will highlight the works of local-living-legend and painter, Mr. Hal McIntosh. Learn about Hal McIntosh and the other honored Art Legends of Orange County who have contributed to our visual arts community during this pivotal time period (c. 1932-1982). Throughout the year, each host site will feature the work of a selected artist or patron. Be sure to visit each site and explore the complete project online at our collaborative exhibit website hosted through UCF’s RICHES program.
Sight Unseen: Touchable Sculpture
Dec 7, 2015 – Apr 17, 2016

Sight Unseen is a sculpture exhibit based around the concept of touchable, hands-on, 3-Dimensional art. Selected works must be made to safely withstand visitor touching and encourage interaction. Local physically challenged communities and organizations will be invited to participate, including the blind and vision-impaired. Blindfolds will be available for visitors to use to experience art with heightened sensory awareness. 

Population Served
Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Free days are offered to allow anyone, regardless of their financial circumstances, to visit the museum. Specific events, hands-on activities, and art demonstrations will accompany these events. Please visit our website for updates and programming specific for each event. The upcoming season’s free days include: 
• National Museum Day (09/26/15)
• Celebrate Capen! Public Open House (10/11/15)
• Czechoslovakian Independence Day
• Veterans Day (11/11/15) 
• Winter Park Holiday Boat Parade (12/12/15)
• Albin Polasek's Valentine Birthday Bash (2/7/16)  
• Winter Park Paint Out Week (4/24-30/16)
• Stroke Awareness Day (5/23/16) 
Population Served Adults
Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens

Ayako Yonetani at the Polasek: Exclusive Chamber Concert Series
Dr. Ayako Yonetani, a world renowned violinist, began playing at the age of five and made her solo debut at the age of ten. Later, she made her United States debut as a concertmaster with the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Dr.Yonetani received her Bachelor, Masters, and Doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School. Currently, she is a Professor of Violin/Viola at the University of Central Florida and travels the world as a guest soloist.  She is a member of Japan’s premier chamber ensemble in Tokyo.


The Polasek Museum’s annual Sunday afternoon, three-concert music series features internationally acclaimed violin/viola player Ayako Yonetani and a variety of guest instrumentalists. Held in the elegant salon of the Polasek residence, concert-goers experience acoustic perfection in an intimate setting. Limited to 50 seats, the performance is followed by a private reception. Cost: Members: $80 for three concert series or $30 per concert. General Public: $90 for three concert series or $35 per concert. Start time 2:00 p.m., on November 8, 2015, w guest Dr. Keith Koons; January 17, 2016, w guest Dr. Eladio Scharron; March 6, 2016, w guest TBA.

Population Served Adults
Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens

Student Art Mingle
9/10/15; 6 – 8 p.m.
Join us for a special night at the Polasek Museum for students to experience and be inspired by an Orange Country Art Legend’s artwork up-close! Students can mingle while enjoying our current exhibit, Art Legends of Orange County: The Art of Hal McIntosh.” Free admission for any college student with a valid ID card, or $5 general.

Stroke Awareness Day
5/23/16; 10 a.m. -1 p.m.
In collaboration with local advocacy groups, the Polasek hosts its First Annual Stroke Awareness Day with free programming and historical home tour specifically tailored for stroke survivors, caregivers, and their supporters. Events include a special guest speaker, a presentation with Curator Rachel Frisby, tours of the Polasek historical home/studio, and complimentary art therapy activities designed for all ages and abilities. Free admission for stroke survivors and their caretakers, closed for general public. Must preregister at, by 5/16/16 to participate.
Population Served
CEO Comments

The Polasek was founded in 1961, fifty years ago, by a man with a vision to share his love of classical and figurative art with future generations. We remain dedicated to that vision.  

We strive to create a positive environment that encourages exploration, discovery and lifelong learning. In order to fulfill our mission we seek partners to help with key funding in the following areas:

 • Conservation of our historic building and permanent art collection

 • Exhibition funding

 • Educational programming

 • Enhancement of the Sculpture Gardens

In addition to donors, support comes from our members, local businesses, and other organizations. In the past five years we have grown at all levels or our membership base. We invite you to help ensure that the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens continues to grow and thrive for future generations.

Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Robert Sharpstein
Company Affiliation Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
Term Jan 2015 to Dec 2018
Board Co-Chair
Board Co-Chair Ms. Susan Vernon-Devlin
Company Affiliation Massey Communications
Term Start Jan 2015 Dec 2018
Board Members
NameCompany AffiliationsStatusCertificate*
Mr. Paul Beckmann Beckmann ArchitectsVoting
Ms. Carolyn Bird Community VolunteerVoting
Mr. Todd Deery University of Central Florida, FIEAVoting
Ms. Judith M. Duda PhilanthropistVoting
Ms. Tris Filliez Leading Edge Title CompanyVotingNo
Mr. Alex Gourlay Fifth Third BankVotingNo
Ms. Sarah E. Grafton Grafton Wealth ManagementVotingNo
Mr. Scott Hillman Fannie Hillman & AssociatesVotingNo
Ms. Virginia Poe Community VolunteerVotingNo
Mr. Robert Sharpstein Northwestern Mutual Financial NetworkVoting
Ms. Lanie Shower Realtor, Fannie Hillman & AssociatesVoting
Ms. Susan Vernon-Devlin Massey CommunicationsVoting
Ms. Laura M. Walda Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.AVotingNo
*This individual has been awarded a Certificate in Orientation to Board Service by the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College, the Central Florida Partnership, and the Central Florida Foundation
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Ethnicity
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Other (if specified) 0
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Standing Committees
Committee Name
Board Development / Board Orientation
Human Resources / Personnel
Program / Program Planning
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Deborah Jones Komanski
Term Start Jan 2004

Debbie Komanski has been Executive Director of the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens since January, 2004. She received her degree from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. As a native of Winter Park and graduate of Winter Park High School, she brings a deep knowledge of the cultural arts and history of the area to the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and the City of Winter Park.

Over the past 30 years, Ms. Komanski has served as president of a number of prominent organizations including the UCF Alumni Association, Volunteer Center of Central Florida, and Town and Gown Council. She has also held other key leadership positions on multiple boards governing non-profit organizations and schools in the community.
Current activities:
• President of the Rotary Club of Winter Park
• Secretary, Leadership Winter Park
• University of Central Florida Foundation, Board of Directors
• Florida Executive Women, Board of Directors
• Town and Gown Council of the University of Central Florida, Board of Directors
• International Committee for the Woodrow Wilson Monument in Prague, Czech Republic
• The Winter Park Cultural Collaboration.
Among her honors and awards, Ms. Komanski received the highest honor presented by the University of Central Florida Alumni Association, the 1987 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. Additionally, she was the recipient of the esteemed University of Central Florida 1998 President’s Award bestowed by President John Hitt in recognition of a lifetime of service to the University; 2008 Jefferson Award for Lifetime Excellence of Public Service and the Orlando Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Community Service of the Year Award.  
CEO Salary Range $75,001 - $100,000
Number of Full Time Staff 5
Number of Part Time Staff 6
Number of Volunteers 50
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate 80%
Senior Staff
Title Curator

Ms. Frisby serves as the Polasek’s Curator and Director of Exhibitions/Programming. Ms. Frisby received her Bachelor’s in Art His­tory with a minor in Anthro­pol­ogy from the Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin Superior. Subsequently, she earned her Master’s degree in Museum Stud­ies from the Uni­ver­sity of Kansas. Before joining the Polasek’s staff, she worked as the Lead Teacher for the historic Whatsoever Community Center in the heart of Kansas City, MO.  In addition, she worked as the Col­lec­tions Spe­cial­ist for the Uni­ver­sity of Kansas Archive of Recorded Sound and has been trained as a Lab­o­ra­tory Tech­ni­cian for books and works on paper at the Stan­nard Con­ser­va­tion Lab­o­ra­tory in Lawrence, Kansas. Her cura­to­r­ial expe­ri­ence ranges from coordinating uni­ver­sity-based student art shows to cre­at­ing exhi­bi­tions for his­tor­i­cal insti­tu­tions, such as the Mt. Hood Museum in Oregon. Since joining the Polasek she has curated the fol­low­ing exhi­bi­tions: Art­ful Strings: Four Cen­turies of Harp Mak­ing, A Parisian Affair: The Art of Andre Renoux, Life in the Fast Lane: The Art of David DeLong, From Start to Fin­ish: The Florida Sculp­tors Guild Exhi­bi­tion, Awak­en­ing: The Art of Ursula Schwartz, The Holy Art of Impe­r­ial Rus­sia: Icons from the 17th C. –Early 20th C, Behind the Curtain: MicheLee Puppets and the Art of Puppetry. As Exhibition/Programming Director, Ms. Frisby strives to develop col­lab­o­ra­tive part­ner­ships and oppor­tu­ni­ties for artists and orga­ni­za­tions, and act­s as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the His­toric Artists’ Homes and Stu­dios Pro­gram. As an artist and edu­ca­tor, her goal is to pro­mote col­lec­tions accessibility and offer excit­ing educational pro­gram­ming and visual arts expe­ri­ences for all vis­i­tors. 

Title Accountant
Experience/Biography Elaine Noel, Accountant, received her B.S. in Accounting in 1982 and her M.A. in School Counseling in 2004, both from the University of Central Florida. She maintains the accounting records for the museum on a part time basis. Noel is active with several fundraising events for non-profit organizations each year.
Title Executive Assistant
Carynn Jackson received her B.A. in Anthropology and History from the University of Central Florida. She also holds a certificate in Entrepreneurial Studies. Her professional experience includes working as manager of operations for two small businesses as well as field work in Historic Preservation.
Title Volunteer and Membership Coordinator/Researcher

Ms. Benson graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in History, and is in currently completing the university’s M.A. History program. She coordinates and trains Museum Volunteers, and is a docent trainer. She also provides docent-led tours of Albin Polasek’s historic residence, and serves as the Museum’s researcher and membership coordinator.

Title Development Coordinator
Experience/Biography Ms. French graduated with a B.S. in Architectural Studies from the University of Utah in 1992 and a masters in Architectural History from the University of Virginia in 1998. She is an Expert Member of the Scientific Committee on 20th Century Heritage for the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and serves on numerous advisory boards across the country. She worked with the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. as an historian and was Director of the Modernism Program with the National Trust for Historic Preservation in San Francisco, CA. Ms. French worked with the Polasek as Project Director of Preservation Capen (the effort to save, move, and renew the historic 1885 Capen-Showalter House), and helped to raise more than $900,000 for that effort. 
Title Facility Manager
Experience/Biography Mr. Walker is a graduate of the University of Idaho in landscape architecture and has worked with the Polasek for three years. He oversees maintenance, safety and welfare of visitors, and has a comprehensive knowledge of the site and facilities. He is also a noted sculptor and landscape planner and directs a large number of volunteers in the Polasek gardens, which cover more than 3 acres along Lake Osceola. 
Title Senior Docent
Experience/Biography Ms. Hays graduated with a B.A. in German and French from the University of Central Florida and an M.A. in German Literature from the University of Florida. She is the museum's in-house editor, docent trainer and lead docent, regularly conducting tours of the property in English, German, and French. 
Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Aug 2013
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Key collaborative and cross-disciplinary partners include: 
  • APF Bach Festival Society of Winter Park
  • Winter Park Historical Museum
  • Rollins College
  • University of Central Florida
  • Valencia College
  • Red Chair Project
  • United Arts of Central Florida
  • MicheLee Puppets
  • Art & History Museums: Maitland
  • Winter Park Public Library
  • Winter Park Rotary
  • Winter Park Day Nursery
  • Winter Park Boat Tours
  • Homeschool Programs
  • Justice and Peace Office
  • Crealde School of Art
  • Cornell Museum
  • Orange County Regional History Center
  • The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
  • The Florida Sculptors Guild
  • The Mennello Museum of American Art
  • Enzian Theater
  • Central Florida Orchid Society
  • American Horticultural Society
  • Naples Botanical Gardens
  • Bok Tower Gardens 
American Association for State and Local History2002
Chamber of Commerce1979
National Trust For Historic Preservation2009
AwardAwarding OrganizationYear
Listed on the National Register of Historic PlacesNational Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior2000
Artist's Hall of FameState of Florida2004
Great FloridianState of Florida2000
Historic Artist's Homes & StudiosNational Trust for Historic Preservation2009
Award for Organizational AchievementFlorida Trust for Historic Preservation2014
Risk Management Provisions
Risk Management Provisions
Automobile Insurance
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
CEO Comments


The Polasek Museum’s strengths are evident in the quality of the staff, the historic significance of the site, and the story of our founder Albin Polasek, N.A., which continues to resonate with visitors of today. Additionally, the Polasek Museum stewards the largest collection of outdoor statuary in Central Florida with more than forty sculptures displayed on our 3-acre site. The Polasek is completely accessible and features one of the only ADA-compliant lakeside museum/interpretive paths open to the public in our area.


The Polasek Museum continues to address the challenges of maintaining a large collection and two historic homes within the budgetary constraints typical for non-profit organizations of this size. Long-term plans for the museum and the interpretive experience throughout the site must conform within these restrictions, limiting the number of events and scope of our programming while also extending the maintenance schedule for our facilities.


The Polasek Museum actively seeks new opportunities to collaborate with other organizations in Central Florida and internationally through innovative programming, public outreach, and an ever-increasing presence as a destination for cultural tourists in this area. A stronger profile helps the Museum to achieve successful outcomes in terms of public education and the architectural preservation of our landmark site. We are also excited to explore new avenues for illuminating the story of our founder Albin Polasek, N.A., through further research into his life, sculpture, methodologies, and artistic motivations.

State Registration Yes
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01, 2015
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2015
Form 990s
2011990 PF
2007990 PF
2006signature page
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Determination Letter
Other Financial Documents
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Individual Contributions$534,703$353,467$193,103
Investment Income, Net of Losses$102,749$123,880$64,717
Membership Dues$11,910$12,926$12,855
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$0$512,429$71,110
Expense Allocations
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$520,774$632,919$383,034
Administration Expense$94,693$108,672$121,175
Fundraising Expense$65,211$106,167$59,873
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.181.680.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses77%75%68%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue12%19%21%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$4,104,212$4,068,141$3,424,182
Current Assets$455,637$534,660$522,789
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$22,089$45,736$32,025
Total Net Assets$4,082,123$4,022,405$3,392,157
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountIndividuals $534,703Inkind Revenues $512,429Individuals $193,103
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountEarned Revenue $150,966Individuals $353,467Earned Revenue $106,902
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $102,749Foundations and Corporations $212,421Foundations and Corporations $97,265
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities20.6311.6916.32
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
CEO Comments

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens has created and implemented a comprehensive strategy to achieve more self-sustainability. The number one priority was to eliminate a mortgage debt of $600,000. At the end of the first quarter of 2009 this goal was accomplished by a series of actions ranging from a targeted silent capital campaign, sale of non-Polasek assets and concluding negotiations for a one-time-only licensing fee. During the Fall of 2009 the Museum contracted a development consultant to create a comprehensive fundraising plan for the next five years. The consultant also engaged in the initial training of board members on how to be more effective at fundraising in early 2010. The Museum continues to implement the fundraising plan. In addition to fundraising efforts, The Polasek operates in a conservative fiscal manner with limited full-time staff, extensive volunteer support and generous in-kind professional services in order to conserve our financial resources and direct our funds to use for the most effective expenditures to complete our mission. At the same time The Polasek partners with others to collaborate whenever possible to better serve our community. All aspects of the Museum’s operation and programming are regularly reviewed by the Executive Director, Board of Trustee’s leadership, and the Budget and Investment Committee which meets on a regular basis.

Foundation Comments
2012: Organization has been reclassified by the IRS as a public charity from a private operating foundation.
2011: Contributions from foundations and corporations are included in total for individuals as they were not separated on 990.
990 and audit reconcile.
This organization has notified the IRS of its intention to convert to a public charity, and the IRS has ruled that grantors and contributors may consider it a public charity for the purpose of making contributions to the organization.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
Notes Programs listed here are those that are only activated during a disaster. Some organizations have unified budgeting and do not budget by program. Because of this, some budget fields may be blank or represent an approximation. Organization describes previous experience during the immediate response, recovery or rebuilding phases following a disaster.