Weather dampens Sculpture Fest crowd

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN
The 2018 Sculpture Festival went on as planned Friday and Saturday in spite of weather worries, bringing students and visitors up close and personal with area artists.

“I personally feel it went well,” said festival committee chair Angie Nicholson. “There were some really good things, but of course the weather tended to keep the attendance down a little and some vendors backed out thinking it was going to be really bad.”

One of the highlights for Nicholson, was the new guide to the sculptures in the park for visitors.

“The people who came out were very interested in the sculptures,” she said. “A lot of people were wandering through the sculptures and using the new guide we have. That’s something we want is for people to be aware of the sculptures that are there and to appreciate that.”

Students on Friday and attendees at the auction Saturday evening were treated to a visit from one of the sculptors who participated in the original Liberty Hill International Sculpture Symposium in 1976.

“Having Deeter Hastenteufel there was amazing,” she said. “He was so good, especially on Friday with the kids. He was impressed with the kids and they were impressed with him.”

Having artists on hand who are eager to engage with students was something that made the event special.

“The sculptors themselves were so impressed with the kids,” she said. “This year we had two bus loads of high school kids that came over, and then a bunch of junior high kids. They were really interested in the sculptors.”

The sculptors were engaged with visitors, whether it was students or festival attendees, and enjoying the questions and interest.

“I think that is an important part of it because that helps people understand what sculptors do in the first place,” Nicholson said. “Having these sculptors come – and three of these who were here this year have been every year – is an important part of the festival.”

The numbers are still being calculated on total fundraising from the event, but Nicholson said $2,700 was raised Saturday during the live auction of the sculptors’ work.

“I think the auction we had downtown this year was a lot better attended (than last year),” she said. “I think we had a lot more interest from people, and I think one of the things that helped it was we had some other things to auction off besides the sculptures.”

Growing the festival next year is already something Nicholson said they plan to focus on.

“I’d like to have more things to auction off at the evening event,” she said. “We’d like more vendors and more people and better weather. We had sunshine once in a while and sprinkles some. All in all I feel it was a successful event, I just wish more people could have come out.”

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