Tom Bennett, a renowned Cameron Park-based sculptor whose work adorned the original Arco Arena, died April 17 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 76.
Bennett’s highly polished bronze sculptures, noted for their fluid lines and sleek design, were collected by people from around the world and selected for public art projects. Together with his twin brother, the late Bob Bennett, the two formed Bennett Sculpture and operated a foundry in Placerville to create their works. The brothers also opened several Bennett Sculpture galleries in California to showcase their art.
While Bennett specialized in depicting female forms in moments of dance and other active poses, brother Bob, who died in 2003, gravitated toward abstract designs. The twins were commissioned by Gregg Lukenbill, former principal owner of the Sacramento Kings, to create a pair of 16-foot sculptures outside the original Arco Arena building. Each brother created a sculpture: Tom’s was titled “Freedom”; Bob’s was “Evolution.”
“They really did bounce ideas off each other and challenged each other to aspire to do even greater things,” said Terrie Bennett, daughter of Tom Bennett. “They had that brother kind of rivalry, but they also supported each other.”
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The Bennett brothers were born Feb. 9, 1939, in Rotan, Texas, and moved to the Sacramento area in the early 1950s. They graduated from Roseville High School in 1957.
Tom Bennett began experimenting with wire sculptures in the early 1960s, and progressed to bronze sculptures in the 1970s. Sculptures from the Bennett brothers have been presented to world leaders, including President George H.W. Bush, Pope John Paul II and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Tom Bennett also designed an award for Elle magazine’s annual “Women in Hollywood” event. It has been presented to such recipients as Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman and Barbra Streisand.
Tom Bennett’s sculptures can be seen around the Sacramento area. Along with the works at Arco Arena, his sculptures can be found at the BloodSource headquarters near the former Mather Air Force Base and the Star VI memorial at Lake Natoma.
Bennett was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about six years ago, his daughter said, and he worked actively as an artist until 2014.
He is survived by wife Kim Eckert Bennett, daughter Terrie Bennett, granddaughter Nicki Bennett and sister Judith Wooten. Memorial services are pending.