New Loveland Heart sculpture unveiled at The Capstone at Centerra

LOVELAND, Colo. (Feb. 14, 2023) – In the grand tradition of the Sweetheart City, Loveland representatives, artists and community members celebrated love on Valentine’s Day by gathering to unveil a new heart sculpture.

LOVELAND, CO - FEBRUARY 14, 2023: Jane DeDecker, left, unveils her HeART sculpture as Dixie Daly, center left, reacts Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, outside the Capstone at Centerra in Loveland. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)
(Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

The 42nd heart sculpture — a part of the Chamber of Commerce’s “HeART” program — was unveiled Tuesday morning in front of the Capstone at Centerra assisted living center in east Loveland.

“We love doing hearts for the love of Loveland,” said Dixie Daly, business and membership director for the Loveland Chamber of Commerce.

The newest heart was created by Loveland artist Jane DeDecker. She said during the unveiling that while she maintains a busy schedule, when she was approached to create the piece she was excited to take it on.

“It’s exciting to have it here,” she said.

“It was definitely a labor of love,” said Kyle Dallabetta, DeDecker’s husband.

The heart itself depicts a field of sunflowers on the front and a quote at the base of the heart reading: “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through my garden forever.” The back continues the theme of deep love, with quotes from Maya Angelou, Zelda Fitzgerald and more about the meaning of love.

But the painted heart is not all DeDecker created for the new addition to the city’s collection. She also included a bronze sculpture of a little girl holding a love letter in her hand, with this piece titled “Love Letters.”

This addition, she said, was made to tell the story of her sister, Mary Casey, and her husband Dave; when Dave was serving in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War, he would send his Mary love letters, filled with emotions for her and not a few typos.

Casey, who was present and brought along a box of the letters, said she thought the piece was fantastic.

“It’s pretty darn special,” she said, later adding “I’m full of love right now.”

Daly said she was incredibly happy with how the piece turned out, especially since she had suggested Capstone reach out to DeDecker to create it. She said the newest heart sculpture, like the more than 40 others, is an important aspect of all the city has in the way of honoring love.

“It’s so awesome and so loving,” she said. “I’m so proud to be part of this program and the chamber.”

DeDecker said she had a lot of positive feelings toward the statue, especially seeing it in place at its new home. She said when driving down McWhinney Boulevard to reach the assisted living facility, she could see the sculpture in the distance, the sun bouncing off of it.

“It was like a beacon,” she said.

This sentiment was also shared by those in charge of the facility. Deedra Moats, director of the assisted living center, said the meaning behind the heart and the sculpture accompanying it helps their mission of celebrating not only their soon-to-be residents’ presents, but their pasts and futures as well.

She said she was able to see the heart and statue in DeDecker’s studio while she was working on it and was deeply moved by it.

“Walking into the studio, it just gets in your pores,” she said. “All she has to express just goes right into you.”

She said, while the facility is currently awaiting its license and staff members are hoping to open in around a month, the heart is already impacting people. She said driving to the facility Tuesday morning and seeing it in front of the building brought tears to her eyes.

“It’s like it’s saying ‘here you are, you’re right where you’re supposed to be,’” Moats said.

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