Have you ever wondered about the sculptures in Fickel Park?
By Shelley Widhalm
A walk through Fickel Park isn’t exactly a walk in the park – it’s more like a walk through a sculpture show, combined with all the usual amenities of a public play space.
The sculpture walk features five pieces through an arts program of the Berthoud Arts and Humanities Alliance (BAHA), a nonprofit founded in 1994 that promotes local artists and provides art in public places. Four of the pieces are permanent and one rotates every one to two years through a loan program in the alliance’s effort to make art an everyday experience and to bring in art from Colorado and national artists.
“We’re lucky to have both,” said Charlotte Zink, co-chairwoman of BAHA and co-owner of Zink Metal Art, adding that while the permanent pieces provide a fixture, “there’s something new and different and exciting to look at.”
The rotating piece is a stone sculpture by Kimmerjae Macarus of Lafayette called “Holds Water: Kneeling Rock for Standing Rock.” The piece, made out of Colorado gneiss, a type of metamorphic rock, depicts a mother embracing a child. It was installed on the west end of the park in May 2019 and will remain there until May 2021.
The four permanent pieces are all in bronze and include “Panzon,” “Mt. Mariah,” “Old Gold Tooth” and “Walrus and Calf.”
Two of the pieces are by Bruce “Doc” Fickel and include “Mt. Mariah” of an elk standing on a stone slab and “Old Gold Tooth” of a smiling cowboy with hand on hip and a snake slithering by his feet. “Panzon” is by Dan Ostermiller and is an image of a bear with its snout raised as it twists its body to the side. “Walrus and Calf,” by Dollores Shelladay, is of a walrus protectively wrapping her body around her calf as they look out over the park.
“They add points of interest and as public art, they offer points of discussion,” Zink said. “Public art is available to everyone all times of the day. There is no fee. It’s a public service everyone can enjoy.”
The sculptures are provided by BAHA’s ArtScapes Sculptures on Loan Program, which was founded in 2003 and includes loaned pieces as well as purchased pieces. The first three pieces were on loan, but in 2005, three permanent pieces became a part of the program. Ostermiller of Loveland and Fickel of Berthoud donated those pieces, which are on the east side of the park.
Two years later, BAHA also purchased “Walrus and Calf,” which had previously been on loan.
“They’re local artists and to have their work right here, we’re really fortunate,” said David Mimeo, co-chairman of BAHA. “To be able to bring murals and public art is very important for any community.”
ArtScapes has a total of five permanent sculptures and three rotating displays, as well as several murals. The fifth permanent sculpture is “Spirit Totems” by Katy Diver, a clay construction commissioned and installed in 2017 at the entrance of the Berthoud Public Library.
“We just feel like we want to serve all the community. The library and community center are right there,” Zinc said. “I feel like there’s always places for art. I feel like that’s part of our community.”
The murals are in different areas of town and currently number three. The largest mural, “Berthoud’s Roots,” adorns the historic old grain elevator at Third Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The piece is by Susan Daily and Eleanor Yates and was completed in six months with the dedication in November 2005.
Another mural, “Homesteaders,” is on the front of the Little Thompson Valley Pioneer Museum building and is by Brenda Ferrimanni. “Floyd Clymer’s Childhood Adventure,” also by Daily, is on the Berthoud Athletic Club building. A fourth mural had to be decommissioned because of damage and had been on the east side of the building at Third Street and Mountain Avenue.
BAHA is supported by grants, donations and membership dues. For more information visit berthoudarts.org or email at [email protected]
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