Local Story: Loveland Sculpture Invitational

Loveland will be teeming with art and artists August 9 – 11 as it prepares for the 23rd Loveland Sculpture Invitational. Graves Bison_1200.jpg

Out of the 100 Best Art Towns in America, Loveland has ranked as high as number two. Scattered throughout the city are sculpture parks, murals and other works of art.

Thanks to a robust public collection, sculpture is the thing that comes to mind when people think of the city. The annual Loveland Sculpture Invitational Show hosts over 200 artists during the second week of August each year.

Marcie Erion, business development specialist for Loveland’s creative sector, said 15,000 to 20,000 visitors attend Art Show Weekend each year. 60 percent of those visitors are from outside the region. Estimated visitor spending for the weekend is a half million dollars.

“And I think that makes it unique and you can go home and say, I bought this piece and I had a chance to engage with the artist,” said Erion.

Car salesman turned sculptor George Walbye is one the five sculptors who launched Sculpture in the Park 30 years ago.

“I live close to Benson Park and I walk through there two or three times a week and I still can’t believe what we have done and I can’t believe how fast the time has gone,” said Walbye. Benson Park has been showcasing sculpture since 1985, with 139 works currently on permanent display.

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Austin Weishel grew-up surrounded by the sculpture created by community pioneers like Walbye. “I’m severely dyslexic and losing something as in reading, struggling through school I was always attracted to art,” said Weishel. “And that’s what I think I gained out of that; that I can do something so well.” 

Weishel, a firefighter by day, has quickly made a name for himself as a sculptor. His life-size work “From Ashes to Answers” stands in Washington, D.C. a tribute to firefighters across the land.

“Being an artist here in Loveland is definitely interesting. You are not alone. There is so much competition here. But I don’t really view it as competition; I view it as different styles of art,” said Weishel.

Watch the full Arts District episode featuring this segment.

Read Carrie Saldo's full article here.

Watch Arts District every Thursday at 7:30pm on Rocky Mountain PBS. Arts District is a collaboration of Rocky Mountain PBS, KUNC and KUVO. 

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