Carve out time for Sculpture Fest Oct. 13



The third annual Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park Festival is set for Oct. 13 and promises to showcase the best of local art.

Angie Nicholson, chairperson of the festival committee, said the festival started three years ago on the 40th anniversary of an International Sculpture Symposium, which brought sculptors from around the world to Liberty Hill to create sculptures for a community sculpture park.

“Mel Fowler was a sculptor who lived part time in Liberty Hill and part time in Italy,” she said. “He wanted to host a symposium, so he decided to do one in Liberty Hill in 1976. He contacted several sculptors from around the world and they came here. He worked with the town at the time on getting folks to house the sculptors because they were here for a couple of months working on their sculptures.”

The original sculpture park sat where the VFW is now in downtown Liberty Hill. In 1987, they were moved to their current location, next to Liberty Hill Intermediate School.

“There was a dedication ceremony then,” Nicholson said. “The first lady of Texas came, and the local garden club helped do some landscaping there. The reason they wanted them moved is because they were getting vandalized downtown.”

The festival began three years ago as a way to raise money to clean, restore and preserve the sculptures in the park.

“We’re working to clean the sculptures,” Nicholson said. “We are working with some folks out of Austin who have been helping us find people who are restorers and preservationists who can give us tips on what we need to do. When you have someone come in and do it, it’s expensive, but we have been given instructions on how to clean them. Volunteers have been cleaning a lot of the sculptures, and they look a lot different than what they did a few months ago. The solution we use to kill off the growths on the sculptures is very expensive. It’s a process and sometimes they have to be cleaned more than once, but it’s making a big difference.”

While the festival began as a way to raise money for the preservation of the sculptures, Nicholson said it’s also a great way to let everybody in the area know about the park itself.

“We have a sculpture museum right here in Liberty Hill,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know that and we want to show them.”

Down the line, Nicholson said the committee also hopes to have enough money by the 50th anniversary of the symposium to host another international sculpture symposium with sculptors from around the world creating art to add to the park.

While the event itself is free, there are many ways festival goers can get involved to help raise money for the sculpture park. The event is broken up into two portions. The first will take place Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the second will begin the same day at 6 p.m. During the daytime portion, there will be a variety of vendors, mainly within the arts and crafts space, as well as food trucks. Vendors have been asked to donate items for a silent auction for the community to bid on. The proceeds raised in the silent auction will go directly to the restoration and preservation of the sculptures.

In addition, baskets representing the countries the original sculpture artists came from will also be auctioned off, as well as some chairs Liberty Hill Junior High School art students have designed and painted. Four area sculptors, Matthew Johnson, Matt Pohorelsky, Bob Regan and Stuart Simpson, will be at the event sculpting pieces that will be auctioned off as well.

“They will be working on a sculpture that they leave with us and on Saturday night we’ll auction those off as well,” Nicholson said. “During the festival, people will be able to go into the tent where the sculptors are working and talk to them and see what they are doing.”

In addition, there will be a hands-on tent for kids, with projects for them to do like soap carving. There will also be displays of arts students’ work from across the school district, and there will be pictures and information from the original 1976 symposium so attendees can learn more about the sculptures in the park. There will also be a car show, as well as high school theater students performing scenes from their fall show. Guided tours of the sculpture park will also be provided.

“This year we’re trying to add more art to the whole thing,” Nicholson said. “One of the biggest things we’re excited about is that we’re going to have one of the original sculptors, Deeter Hastenteufel, from the 1976 symposium here.”

Hastenteufel will be sculpting on Friday and Saturday while he’s in town, and will also be giving a presentation on sculpting Saturday evening.
Saturday evening starting at 6 p.m., the band RianC will be performing, Hastenteufel will be giving his presentation, and dinner, along with beer and wine, will be served by Malted Grains. All of the auction items will also be auctioned off during the evening portion of the event.

“This is going to be a great way for the community to learn more about the sculptures and see what Liberty Hill has to offer in the way of art,” Nicholson said.

Parking for the event will be at LHIS, and golf carts will be available to pick up those people who need it. For more information on the festival, visit or search for the festival on Facebook.