Venetucci sculptor gives talk at Pike Elementary

       A presentation by Frederick Darpino, sculptor of the Nick Venetucci statue, is scheduled at Pike Elementary School, 2510 N. Chestnut St., from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 27.
       The event, occurring after school, is free and open to the public. Parking space will be available on the school's rear playground.
       Darpino, who works out of the Business of Art Center in Manitou Springs, will talk about his work on the bronze statue and will also show a video about it, according to Marti Riffie, a retired Pike teacher who now volunteers as its art instructor.
       The statue, which will be about 6 feet high and show Venetucci with three children, will be placed downtown, possibly at the Pioneers Museum, Riffie said.
       Venetucci is a local farmer who has been annually giving pumpkins to children in Colorado Springs for 50 years.
        Pike is among several area schools that have contributed to the “Pennies for Pumpkins” drive to help pay the $90,000 cost of the statue. Half that cost was underwritten by the Nor'wood Foundation, while $34,000 of the remaining $45,000 has been raised through the “Pumpkins” drive, according to Elaine Naleski, District 11 spokesperson.
        Those wishing to contribute to the drive can send checks to Widefield School District 3, Business Services, 1820 Main St., Colorado Springs 80911.

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