‘Sculpting the Future’ online auction to benefit Round Rock nonprofits

Todd Nelson, founder of the Nelson Family Life Foundation, greets one of the 100 sculptors from the Shona Sculpture Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe, commissioned to interpret the word "love" in stone for a charity auction this summer. (Courtesy Nelson Family Life Foundation)
Todd Nelson, founder of the Nelson Family Life Foundation, greets one of the 100 sculptors from the Shona Sculpture Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe, commissioned to interpret the word "love" in stone for a charity auction this summer. (Courtesy Nelson Family Life Foundation)

Todd Nelson, founder of the Nelson Family Life Foundation, greets one of the 100 sculptors from the Shona Sculpture Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe, commissioned to interpret the word "love" in stone for a charity auction this summer. (Courtesy Nelson Family Life Foundation)

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Visitors to Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Round Rock this summer can enjoy the indoor waterpark while also giving back to the community and learning about African art and culture.

One-hundred original sculptures from African artists are on display at the resort through Aug. 14, which anyone can bid on or purchase as part of an online charity auction. Proceeds will benefit local nonprofit organizations such as Hope Alliance and the Round Rock Area Serving Center, in addition to the artists’ home villages in Africa.

“This silent auction is a unique opportunity to enhance corporate and personal art collections with exceptional stone sculptures representing Love by outstanding African Artists, and most importantly, benefiting those in suffering from hunger, homelessness and domestic violence,” said Ken Law, President of the Texas Society of Sculptors.

The auction is hosted by the Nelson Family Life Foundation in partnership with the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation, and is the nonprofit’s first major philanthropic initiative in Texas. The Nelson family also owns Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, which opened its Round Rock resort in November, the fourth location nationwide.

After the COVID-19 pandemic began, the foundation commissioned 100 sculptors from the Shona Sculpture Gallery in Harare, Zimbabwe, to interpret the word “love” in stone.

Many of the artists previously had work featured in galleries across the continent and beyond, but when the pandemic halted global travel and the local economy, they felt the brunt of it. When an opportunity to support the artists and sculptors presented itself to the Nelson family, they jumped on it, leading to the creation of the charity auction.

“The concept is an elegant balance of art and philanthropy, combined in a way that I’ve never seen before,” said Jason Ball, President and CEO of the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce, in an online chamber message. “...What they created was beautiful and evocative, and you can see each sculpture and artist here.”

When visitors come to the waterpark, they can see all 100 of the sculptures on display. Anyone can also view pictures and information online, including a quote and information about the artist as well. The sculptures, which can take weeks or months to create, range in size from 14 to more than 90 pounds.

Bidding is open to everyone, and the highest bid wins. The sculptures can also be purchased as a donation outright.

In addition to the online auction, the foundation has also partnered with the Round Rock ISD Partners in Education Foundation in an effort to help students learn about the culture that impacts art. Visitors can make a donation to the foundation in exchange for a waterpark pass that costs $49.49.

The offer is now available to everyone and waterpark passes are redeemable through Aug. 14, 2022. For more details, visit the website at https://www.nelsonfamilylifefoundation.org/learn.

The Nelson Family Life Foundation was created in 2014 and aims to improve the lives of those in the communities it serves through health and education initiatives. Before Kalahari opened in Round Rock, the foundation donated to various community organizations, such as the Nolan Ryan Foundation, Round Rock Area Serving Center, and the Seton Williamson Foundation.

For more details, visit https://www.nelsonfamilylifefoundation.org/.