Dominico T. Venetucci: The Pumpkin Man
Born in the shadows of the steel mill in Pueblo, Colorado, Fred Darpino always knew he was going to be a sculptor. With the encouragement of his parents and family, Darpino earned a bachelor’s degree in Art and Education and Master of Fine Arts in sculpture and drawing. He was the art teacher at Horace Mann Middle School for 31 years and is now known as the Storyteller Sculptor.
Dominico (Nick) T. Venetucci, aka “The Pumpkin Man” and the subject of this bronze, was forced to retire early from a budding baseball career to run the family farm just south of downtown Colorado Springs. For over 50 years he hosted schoolchildren on the Venetucci farm every autumn, giving away thousands upon thousands of pumpkins to the young visitors. In fact, schoolchildren raised about $34,000 of the funds needed to create this sculpture through their city-wide campaign called “Pennies for Pumpkins.” The sculpture depicts Nick, who died in 2004, bending down to hand a sizable pumpkin to a beaming child while another youngster rolls a massive pumpkin on the ground. Also included is a young boy squatting beside baseball memorabilia, a subtle acknowledgment of Nick’s athletic talent of yesteryear.