Every August, some 20,000 people flock to Loveland for Sculpture in the Park, the largest outdoor juried exhibition of three-dimensional artwork in the nation, featuring 2,000 pieces of sculpture from 160 artists from all over the world. Neighboring towns such as Greeley, Fort Collins, Berthoud, Longmont and not-so-far beyond have their share of sculpture as well. Hop in the car and
1. Art Castings
511 8th St. SE, Loveland
You might want to start your sculpture road trip with a visit to a working bronze foundry to see and learn about the entire process. Guided tours to the public are given at this world-renowned foundry on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings at 9:30 a.m. Each tour holds up to eight people. Tickets are $5 adults, $4 seniors; children under 12 are free, but children under 10 are not allowed without direct adult supervision. To hear a detailed recording about tours, call 970.667.1114, ext. 15.
2. Benson Sculpture Gardens
1125 W. 29th St., Loveland
Benson Sculpture Gardens opened in Loveland in 1985, and is home to more than 130 permanent outdoor sculpture pieces along with landscaped gardens and ponds. You can enjoy the park at any time of year – indeed, the sculptures are quite hauntingly beautiful when dusted with snow.
Summer draws the largest crowds, especially during the Sculpture in the Park show every August. This year’s show takes place August 9-11.
3. Chapungu Sculpture Park
Promenade Shops at Centerra, Loveland
On 26 acres along the eastern side of Loveland’s Promenade Shops at Centerra Mall, east of I-25, visit the fascinating Chapungu Sculpture Park at Centerra, focusing on Zimbabwean stone sculpture (Shona,) with more than 80 enormous sculptures made by hand from solid Zimbabwean rock.
This peaceful, exquisitely beautiful and moving park is the largest of its kind in the world.
4. Swetsville Zoo
4801 E. Harmony Road, Ft. Collins
Just east of the Costco warehouse store in Timnath, off of a marked driveway on Harmony Road, you’ll find the oh-so-whimsical, delightful and yes, open to the public Swetsville Zoo, named for its creator and property owner, the incredibly inventive Bill Swets. The “Zoo” is made up of some 160+ gigantic dinosaurs, animals, people, and more, all made of pieces of discarded metal from cars, farm machinery and scrap metal. You’ll easily spend an hour here.
5. Greeley Public Art
Recently named a Certified Colorado Creative District, Greeley has more than 100 pieces of public art sprinkled throughout town. A don’t-miss: Take in artist Joshua Wiener’s sculpture inspired by the city’s sophisticated water system, “Rain Symphony,” consisting of about 140 16-foot high poles set in the ground, which are meant to look like a sheet of rain when the sun reflects off of them. This is located within Homestead Park and Open Space, at 29th Street and 36th Avenue.
Another Greeley sight is the UpTown Tree sculptures along 8th Avenue, spanning six blocks, making for a delightful walking tour. The first ten “trees,” each created by local artists, will be dedicated November 15 by the Showcase Art Center at 8th Avenue and 14th Street. This interactive map shows off the City of Greeley’s artwork and how to find it.
Nicknamed the City of Living Trees, this small city near the Nebraska border is home to the works of sculptor Bradford Rhea. Rhea has taken 17 dead cottonwood trunks and has carved them into fanciful creatures and characters, most within walkable distance of each other. Some of the sculptures are cast in bronze and are indoors, so it’s best to come Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. when the buildings are open to the public. Pamphlets are available at the Tourist Information Center at the Sterling Rest Area.