Loveland’s Sculpture in the Park has long attracted art enthusiasts who wish to see the latest creations in bronze, ceramic, wood, glass and a myriad of other materials.
While last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic, this year the cherished art event will make its return with work by over 150 creatives on display throughout Benson Sculpture Garden.
“We are just so happy that we get to do a show this year,” said Kristi Elyce, executive director of the Loveland High Plains Arts Council, the organization that hosts Sculpture in the Park. “We very much missed doing the show last year.”
In addition to perusing new work by artists from across the country, attendees can take in the permanent sculpture collection that features 172 intriguing pieces.
The event will open at 9:30 a.m. each morning and close at 6 p.m. Saturday and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
Every year sales of art at this largest outdoor juried sculpture show in the country surpass $1 million.
“Half of the artists are asked back based on sales and other factors from the previous year,” Elyce said. “Half are juried in by a jury of a diverse set of peer jurors.”
While show favorites often make their triumphant return, the event is also adamant about creating a platform for new creatives creating cutting-edge work.
“We have 30 first-time participating artists this year,” Elyce said. “We are excited to see what they will be bringing to the show.”
From vibrant abstract glass and ceramic works by Loveland-based artist Pete Bergmann to the detailed wild animal carvings of Zimbabwean artist Alex Chitura, this year’s crop of newbies certainly delivers.
A veteran of the festival, porcelain artist Carolyn Barlock, will be displaying her new works doused in gold that have an undeniable royal feel. A scholar of ancient art practices, she crafts eye-catching pieces by utilizing time-honored methods and materials that date back centuries.
“I’m looking forward to not only seeing fellow artists but also those patrons of Sculpture in the Park that support the show, along with the community volunteers that work so hard to make the show happen,” Barlock said. “It will be like an overdue family reunion this year.”
Barlock, who first visited the event to show support for her artist friends in the ‘80s, eventually joined the lineup in 1997 and has consistently been a part of the prized show since.
“I hope my pieces will become family heirlooms cherished by generations to come,” Barlock said. “This year in the show I will also have a limited edition of Christmas bells that definitely fit that wish. Over the years I’ve found decorating objects that one can use in their home and treasure their beauty a rewarding aspect of being a porcelain artist.”
Throughout the years, Barlock’s pieces have ended up in the hands of dedicated and esteemed collectors.
To her surprise — and delight — a chalice she made was presented to His Holiness Pope Francis by Monsignor Giovanni Fusco.
“As for the Vatican and Pope Francis, that was definitely not on my bucket list and knowing that he personally uses it in his private library is still surreal to me,” Barlock said. “To me, just knowing a collector cherishes my work and enjoys using it — no matter If it’s their first piece of art or they’ve collected for years — is satisfying no matter who they are.”
From jewelry to wine pitchers, her delicate treasures possess a timeless beauty.
“The last year I did some experimenting in a new direction,” Barlock said. “’Copper Universe Collection’ is somewhat of a modern direction for me. The ‘Pinto Valley’ vase offers that modern feel rather than the royal feel that my, say, ‘On Golden Pond’ vase offers. But, as a Colorado native with family dating back to the gold rush days, that’s where my heart lies.”
Admission is $10 per person and children under 14 years of age can enter at no charge.
A limited number of tickets to Friday’s patron party may be purchased for $75 per person.
Also this weekend is Art in the Park — hosted by The Thompson Valley Art League — at neighboring North Lake Park.
“We have a lot of new artists this year and some of the old favorites will be returning,” said Jill Atchison, Art in the Park’s director. “We have fine art, ceramics, woodworking, candles, soaps, unique apparels and jewelry. Something for everyone.”
Although the number of artists has been reduced, there isn’t a cap on attendees.
“We are still at 75% capacity for the artists, but there is no contact tracing or limits at the gate,” Atchison said.
The event will run from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s funny, because I first started making these pieces just for myself,” said fabric, macrame and weaving artist Kiley Burke, who runs Thunder & Twine. “I had seen similar wall hangings online, but none of them 100% matched my style and what I was looking for. After countless trial-and-error hours, I finally completed a few pieces that I liked and up on my walls they went.”
It wasn’t long before visitors to Burke’s abode started to praise the hand-crafted works of art.
“When I would have guests over they would often ask where I got them and then one friend eventually said to me ‘You know, you should make these and sell them. I bet they’d be popular,’” Burke said. “Thanks to that statement, Thunder & Twine was born.”
Burke continues to attract customers looking to add a sense of whimsy to their homes with pieces that incorporate crystals and feathers.
“This will actually be my fourth year doing Art in the Park and visitors to my booth can expect to see both the classic pieces I’ve begun to be known for — the cascading dreamcatchers are always a favorite — as well as new designs and materials,” Burke said.
Her larger pieces are often sought after to add to the ambiance of a special occasion.
“As far as the weddings go, I generally have a good amount of creative freedom when it comes to what I’m making,” Burke said. “I’ll always talk with the couple beforehand to get a feel for what they like — colors, size, etc. — and then go from there to really make it personal to them.”
From draping pieces on nearby trees at certain venues to adoring grand wedding arches, Burke’s work is utilized in a number of ways.
“No two wedding pieces are ever identical unless upon request and I like to keep it that way,” Burke said. “These pieces are great, also, because they end up being something from the wedding day that the couple can keep and have in their home for years to come.”
In addition to work by 160 artists — that were narrowed down from a pool of 260 applicants — the event will offer food trucks, face painting and a balloon artist.
Entrance is free. With limited parking around the venue, a free shuttle bus service is available and riders will be required to wear masks.
“We have held the number at 75% capacity to allow for plenty of social distancing and traffic flow,” Atchison said. “Come out and support these local and regional artisans. You will find that special piece you have been looking for.”