Benson Sculpture Garden Monday, Jul 30 2018 

Child of Peace

Child of Peace

Loveland, Colorado has been described as “a sweetheart city which has a love affair with the arts.” The Benson Sculpture Garden currently has 158 pieces of sculpture on a 10-acre park situated around a privately-owned lake, amid trees, flowers, and natural habitat areas. We visited the day before part of the park was going to be closed for the 35th Annual Sculpture in the Park, the largest outdoor juried sculpture show. This year’s official dates of this show are August 10-12. I took photographs of the following sculptures with the date they were added by the Loveland High Plains Arts Council:

  • “High Plains Warrior” by George Walbye (1985)
  • “Windsong” by George Walbye (1985)
  • “Double Header” by Kent Ullberg (1986)
  • “Rice Ritual” by Carla Knight (1989)
  • “Child of Peace” by Edward F. Hoffman III (1990)
  • “Flora” by Jo Hess (1990)
  • “Keeping the Ball Rolling” by Jane Dedecker (1990)
  • “Sophie” by Tony Hochstetler (1990)
  • “Akicita” by Dan Garrett (1991)
  • “Mujer del Logo” by Tom Ware (1992)
  • “Between Broncs” by Garland Weeks (1998)
  • “Circle of Life” by J. Chester Armstrong (1998)
  • “Prairie Flowers” by George Lundeen (1998)
  • “Rebecca and Friends” by Dee Toscano (1998)
  • “Dance of the Eagle” by Allan Houser (1999)
  • “The Escape” by Curtis Zabel (2000)
  • “Lillith” by Rosalind Cook (2000)
  • “The Actor” by Dee Clements (2001)
  • “The Potato Man” by Susan Geissler (2001)
  • “Louis Papa” by Pat Kennedy (2001)
  • “Monday” by Maureen K. Scott (2002)
  • “Breeze” by Blair Buswell (2003)
  • “Harvest” by Seth Vandable (2003)
  • “Resting on a Rough Sawn Bench” by Robert McDermott (2003)
  • “Evening Jazz” by Warren Cullar (2004)
  • “Fiesta” by Carol Gold (2004)
  • “Headin’ for the Gathering” by Rick Jackson (2006)
  • “The Garden” by Susie Chisholm (2008)
  • “Duet” by Jeff K. Laing (2009)
  • “Pelican Ahoy” by Jim Green (2013)
  • “Happy Dance” by Richard Pankratz (2015)
  • “Book of Peddlers” by Jack Morford (2016)
  • “Tree Top Stretch” by Daniel B. Glanz (2016)
  • “Amore” by Kim Kori (2017)
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Wind Cave National Park Saturday, Jul 28 2018 

Boxwork

Boxwork

Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation creating Wind Cave National Park on January 9, 1903. This 33,924-acre park of mixed grass and ponderosa pine forest features one of the largest caves in the world. Thus far, about 148 miles of cave have been explored. It is a three-dimensional maze of interconnecting passages and rooms. It contains the world’s most abundant and varied display of boxwork. We took the Natural Entrance Tour which lasted about 1.25 hours, covered about 2/3 of a mile, and required stepping down some 300 steps. There are a couple of other tours that sound interesting, and Jewell Cave National Monument is a nearby cave that we should try to tour next time.

 

Custer State Park Saturday, Jul 28 2018 

Bison

Bison

This 71,000-acre park features an interesting Wildlife Loop Trail through open grasslands and pine-speckled hills. We encountered deer, a single pronghorn, lots of bison, and burros. We had lunch at the State Game Lodge which was the “Summer White House” for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927. From there we hiked the Creekside Trail along the Grace Coolidge Creek almost two miles to the Grace Coolidge Campground.

We also traversed some nearby interesting roadways. For example, the Iron Mountain Road is about 17 miles with 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 pig tails, and 3 tunnels including one C. C. Gideon, that frames Mount Rushmore.

Hard rain impacted our enjoyment of the 14-mile Needles Highway drive through pine and spruce forests surrounded by needle-like granite formations.

Mount Rushmore National Monument Friday, Jul 27 2018 

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Sporadic rainfall greeted us Thursday evening when we arrived in Custer, South Dakota. Fortunately, there was some sun Friday morning during our visit at Mount Rushmore National Monument. I liked the entry views of the four Presidents above the Avenue of Flags. After enjoying views from the Grand View Terrace, we walked both ends of the Presidential Trail that were open during renovation of the Sculptor’s Studio (until May 2019). In the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center, we watched the fourteen-minute film “Mount Rushmore: The Shrine.” According to sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1930): “A monument’s dimensions should be determined by the importance to civilization of the events commemorated…. Let us place there carved high as close to heaven as we can…. Our leaders, their faces, to show posterity what manner of men they were then breathe a prayer that these records will endure until the wind and the rain alone shall wear them away.” The four Presidents chosen by the sculptor commemorate the founding, growth, preservation, and development of the United States. Gutzon Borglum appointed Professor Walter Long to define and perfect the facial features on the Presidential sculpture. Gutzon died before the project was done. His son Lincoln oversaw it to completion. The construction period lasted fourteen years from 1927-1941, although the actual work took about 6.5 years. Solon Borglum, Gutzon’s younger brother, sculpted both Rough Rider and Cowboy at Rest on the grounds of the Yavapai County Court House in Prescott, Arizona.

Air Force Academy Friday, Jul 27 2018 

Cadet Chapel

Cadet Chapel

We visited the Air Force Academy when leaving Colorado Springs Wednesday morning. The Barry M. Goldwater Visitor Center provides visitors with an excellent introduction to this active military facility. The purpose is “to educate, train, and inspire men and women to become leaders of character, motivated to lead the United States Air Force in service to our nation.”  After watching the 21-minute film, “A Year in the Blue,” which documents a first-year cadet’s life, we walked a third of a mile to the iconic Cadet Chapel. In addition to the main sanctuary, there is separate Catholic, Jewish, and Buddhist space on the lower level. We didn’t see the Islamic worship space. This 18,455 acre campus offers awe inspiring vistas adjacent to the Rampart Range.

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Thursday, Jul 26 2018 

John Wayne

John Wayne

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College offers extraordinary exhibits. The permanent collection has strong holdings of “Art of the Southwest” from indigenous, Nuevomexicana/o artists. I especially liked “Our Lady of Guadalupe” by Eulogio and Zoraida Ortega. Marisol presents a satirical portrait of John Wayne’s macho image with her mixed media piece “John Wayne.” Dale Chihuly’s “Orange Hornet Chandelier” was a bright spot in our visit. I was impressed with their collection of M. C. Escher paintings of “Perception and Deception.” I was surprised at how many special exhibits were offered. Alex Harris, for example, presents a series of photographs (through July 29th) of Northern New Mexico landscapes taken from the front seat of different classic cars in “Red White Blue and God Bless You.” Within the “Year of the Dog” exhibit (through October 14), Frank and Sharon Romero present some wonderful images of dogs. Sculptor John Frame uses an animated film to portray his “Three Fragments of a Lost Tale” (until September 16). Conceptual artist Tom Marioni has a fun exhibit with “The Art of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art” (until September 9th). Unfortunately, because we were leaving Wednesday morning, we missed his evening beer drinking event. The Bemis School of Art Gallery featured interesting work by three Colorado College students. The interior courtyard has several sculptures including “Opus 1” by Bill Burgess. The grounds have more sculptures. I was especially interested to see Prescott resident Doug Hyde’s “Hopi Basket Dancers.”

We walked around the Colorado College campus and stepped into the Tutt Library where we learned that the school has about 2,000 students and that their unusual curricular format is based on eight 3.5-week classes per year. Colorado College is a very interesting college. We had dinner in Old Colorado City where we learned that it was briefly the territorial capital. The city celebrates its mining history with old mining ore cars decorating street corners. Although closed, the windows of the Michael Garman Museum and Gallery intrigued us with its handmade figurines.

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