Artist Honors Northern Colorado's Hispanic Beet Farmers

Published online: Apr 06, 2021 News Max Levy
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Source: Loveland Reporter-Herald

Frank Garza, an artist based in Loveland, Colo., says he is nearly done with the clay model of his monument that will be placed in Fort Collins’ Sugar Beet Park to honor the Hispanic workers of Northern Colorado’s sugar industry.

Titled The Hand That Feeds, the sculpture features a massive hand grasping a short-handled hoe — a farming tool that has become associated with the back-breaking farm work which fueled the rise of Fort Collins and Loveland.

“I do a lot of research, and I remember reading an article about the short hoe, and I was like, ‘It’s got to be that,’” Garza said. “I usually trust my intuition. I’ll have a eureka moment and go for it.”

“The hand represents our people’s struggle, and the hoe represents how that work was so back-breaking for so many people,” said Betty Aragon-Mitotes, founder of local nonprofit Mujeres de Colores, which is leading the effort to install the monument.

“We want people to understand how these workers helped Fort Collins flourish and helped the sugar industry flourish, but they’ve been kind of excluded out of history,” she added. “I couldn’t be more proud of a project that we’ve done and that we got city approval for it to be placed in the park.”

Her organization still has to raise about $80,000 of its $300,000 fundraising goal, Aragon-Mitotes said, in part to pay for the bronze casting of the sculpture, which will be performed at Loveland-based foundry Art Castings of Colorado.

The Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority and the Bohemian Foundation are collaborating to match up to $125,000 in contributions, according to a press release. Other kick-starter donors have included High Country Beverage, Might Arrow Foundation, New Belgium Brewery and The Latino Foundation.

Garza said he will unveil the finished clay model of the sculpture next week. Aragon-Mitotes and Garza said her goal is to have the work installed in time for September and Hispanic Heritage Month.

“I want it to be the biggest party you’ve ever seen,” she said of the unveiling. “It’s going to be a landmark, and I’m thrilled people from all over are going to view that.”

Information on donating to the project can be found at www.mujeresdecolores.org or by calling Aragon-Mitotes at (970) 412-4536 or blaragon@msn.com.