LOVELAND SCULPTURE INVITATIONAL , AUGUST 10-11-12, 2012.
Top: Photo of Jane DeDecker‘s sculpture at Benson Sculpture Park. Visit Sculpture in the Park at Benson Sculpture Park, Saturday, Sunday, August 11 – 12, 2012.
Bottom: Loveland Sculpture Invitational, Featured Artist, Victor Issa. Loveland Sculpture Invitational, is billed as the largest outdoor sculpture show in America.
I always know the approximate date when the two Loveland shows will be held, either on, or, days from my birthday. For many years I spent my birthday weekend manning a booth in the vendor’s tent. It was the most fun, most physically draining, delightful, insightful and best art networking event of the year.
The history of the two shows goes back almost 30 years, 29 to be exact, when a couple of handfuls of artists such as George Lundeen, Hollis Williford, Jane DeDecker, Kent Ullberg, George Walbye, Garland Weeks, Jay Eighmy, Glenna Goodacre, Danny Ostermiller set up tents in what is today’s well-known Loveland tourist attraction Benson Sculpture Park on Taft Avenue just north of Loveland High School. Today the show has morphed into a national event and spawned a co-event, the Loveland Sculpture Invitational across the street. The two shows create what is truly one of the largest sculpture events in the country.
As you can imagine the shows did not swell into its legendary status without crushed egos, bitter competition (fyi: reason for the second show, The Invitational as it is called, was started by sculptors who were unceremoniously ejected from the SIP show), which in the end only created a supreme opportunity for Loveland to increase its art/sculpture reputation and revenues each second week in August.
Scanning the names of the artists in both shows proves to me the shows are still growing with visiting artists from across the country and around the world. Of course, there was and always be the question asked, which side is better? Interestingly enough, I noticed some of the original sculptors from SIP are solid citizens of the South (south side of the street) due to let’s say, economics. As it is, each show has separate guidelines for percentages paid on each sale, after show sales, booth costs, set-up and tear-down routines, admission costs, and number of guest tickets for free admission, etc. Artists come to Loveland to display and sell their work. They want the biggest bang for their buck; the status of which side of the street is better is ineffectual.
It’s an art filled day (or weekend for serious art collectors) when visiting Loveland on this weekend. Getting through both sides is grueling because it’s usually hot as hell; it is August after all. For the true art collector or rep from a public entity I recommend going to the pre-events such as opening night, the cocktail parties and preview parties on both sides (click on both websites below for artists, schedules, ticket costs and party events). By getting a leg up on the thousands of sculptures big and small you’ll make eye contact with the art and artist who speaks to you. You can comfortably observe the work that will fit your pocketbook and your buying mission for fine art sculpture for public or private placement.
No one’s complaining anymore. Both shows sell in the millions, yet the two shows have been at each other’s throats for, let’s see, 20 years? Oh, what a hubbub the new show caused that day twenty years ago when a few disgruntled artists met and formed the Loveland Sculpture Invitational… the growing pains endured, the hours of hard work, and millions of dollars worth of sculpture sold from both sides in 29 years. It’s a destination for art lovers in August.
For directions simply head north up I-25 and take the second exit into Loveland, Highway 34, at the Outlet Mall. Keep heading West on (34) Eisenhower Blvd. until you see signs directing cars north to Loveland High School, Benson Park, and there’s free parking and shuttles available. Getting there is no problem, getting through hundreds of sculpture on display is another matter altogether.