While the second week of August means being closer to the end of summer, for artists and art lovers, the second week signifies the start of the popular Sculpture in the Park event in Loveland.
The 38th annual Sculpture in the Park returns to Benson Sculpture Garden from Friday, August 12 through Sunday, August 14, featuring the nation’s largest outdoor sculpture exhibits.
The event attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the Benson Sculpture Garden each year, making it an internationally renowned must-see contemporary art site.
Visitors to the sculpture event will have the chance to see more than 2,000 different sculptures created by 160 national and international artists against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
The first Sculpture in the Park event took place in 1984 when five Loveland sculptors – Dan Ostermiller, George Lundeen, Fritz White, Hollis Williford and George Walbye – partnered with the Loveland Chamber of Commerce and the City of Loveland to create an event centered on sculpture in Parc Benson.
“That year they raised enough money to buy two works of art and created the Benson Sculpture Garden,” said Donna Visocky, executive director of the Loveland High Plains Art Council. “Since that time, the show has grown as well as the number of rooms in the garden.”
The sculptures featured in the exhibition are made from a variety of mediums including bronze, wood, stone, ceramic and metal, and unlike paintings, which are two-dimensional, the sculptures allow people to see the room from all angles.
Things start on Friday with a patronal feast from 3 to 8 p.m. in the garden. The event gives serious collectors and top patrons the chance to get a first look at the pieces featured at the event.
The party is open to adults 21 and older and will include cocktails and appetizers. The party is considered “dressed up”, so casual attire is discouraged. Tickets for the Patron Party are $75 per person and can be purchased online at https://bit.ly/3oSUscq.
One of the features of the exhibition that sets it apart from other art events is that visitors have the opportunity to meet the artists in person to talk about their and other works.
Artist Jan DeDecker will be just one of the artists featured at the show. DeDecker was named Colorado Woman of the Year by USA Today in honor of being the first artist chosen for the Women’s Suffrage Monument Project in Washington, D.C.
DeDecker has been working on his piece for the monument, “Every Word We Utter,” for several years.
“I helped establish a bill that was drafted in Colorado to place a women’s monument in Washington, D.C. The bill passed in 2020, and so our nonprofit board puts put in place a program that will place the first women’s monument to women’s suffrage in Washington,” she explained. “Women are a missing part of the memorial landscape, especially the struggle for suffrage.”
DeDecker has participated in the annual Loveland Sculpture Exhibition for over 20 years.
“One thing I love about it is our community involvement and our community’s pride in the event and the volunteers who come out tirelessly each year to participate and promote the arts in Loveland,” DeDecker said. “They really embraced all the mediums of sculpture, so he really has an eclectic and broad view of sculptural techniques and approaches.”
As well as embracing all sorts of different sculptures, the exhibition features works by both male and female artists – which is important in a male-dominated field of arts.
“I think the Loveland show in particular does a really good job of representing women, so I’m really proud of that,” DeDecker said. “I think this community does a really good job of showcasing fairness.”
Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to “take home a piece of the park” through the purchase of small replicas of several of the permanent sculpture pieces. These specific pieces are available for purchase at Sculpture in the Park as well as throughout the year.
Between readings of the sculptures, pass by the silent auction tent to bid on a selection of sculptures in bronze, stone, wood, ceramic, glass, metal and mixed media.
The event will also feature different food and drink vendors for visitors to purchase snacks, drinks and other treats.
During the fair, visitors can also see the permanent pieces of the sculpture garden which are displayed throughout the year, such as a life-size bronze mountain lion, a banana on roller skates and children pulling a triangle larger than life.
The Benson Sculpture Garden is made up of 10 acres which includes 178 works of art. Along with amazing artwork, the sculpture garden also has a gazebo, restrooms, a walking path, ponds, benches, and is handicapped accessible. The Sculpture Garden is open to the public and there are no admission fees or parking.
“There’s all kinds of art all around the park, so it’s really cool to see,” Visocky said. “Last summer we just installed six new rooms, which brought us to 178. So every year we add more rooms to the park.”
Proceeds generated from the sale at the sculpture event are used to purchase additional pieces for the Benson Sculpture Garden as well as help fund capital improvement and landscaping projects.
“It’s wonderful to see all of this incredible art and to showcase these artists in the community and region and from across the country,” said Visocky. “But for me the coolest part is this park, Benson Sculpture Garden, it’s this amazing space filled with art that anyone can enjoy.”
All ages are welcome to attend the event, however, pets are not permitted at the event, so please leave Fido at home. Service animals are permitted at the event and must be kept on a leash at all times.
What: sculpture in the park
When: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Benson Sculpture Garden, 2908 Aspen Drive, Loveland
Cost: $10 for visitors 15 and over. Youth 14 and under are free
For more information, visit www.sculptureinthepark.org.