Bear is, I think, the newest and one of the very best pieces of public art in Kelowna. Stop #15 on the Public Art in Kelowna tour, Bear is directly across from City Hall in Stuart Park.
Unveiled at the official opening of Stuart Park in September 2010, the sculpture is a blue powder-coated frame shaped like a grizzly bear, enclosing symbols of Kelowna. I found fish, a bird, vines, fruit, frogs, and I’m sure there are things I haven’t even seen yet. You can walk around right under Bear and look into the frame. Standing close, you can clearly see the objects inside. Standing back, you see the Bear.
Brower Hatcher created Bear, and this afternoon he gave a talk at the Kelowna Art Gallery. He brought slides of some of his earlier works (some examples here) and spoke about how he uses frames to define a space and objects to fill it. Hatcher spoke for about an hour, and answered questions from the audience. He likes his public art projects to improve a place, to engender a sense of community, and to evoke emotions.
I think he has succeeded with Bear. It’s a beautiful sculpture. I love going there and looking at Bear from different angles and distances. He seems to blend into the sky sometimes and stand out clearly other times.
If you are reading this before September 4, 2011, you still have a chance to get down to the Kelowna Art Gallery and see Please Touch the Art: Art in the Public Space. The exhibit tells the story of Bear’s creation, and shows off other examples of Public Art in Kelowna.
Last September I attended the opening of Stuart Park and Bear’s unveiling and took these photos:
You can find out more about Public Art in Kelowna here. Grab a PDF of the brochure (featuring Bear on the front) here. I hope eventually to blog about all 59 sites. Click on “Public Art” in the “What’s here” box on the right side of this page to see all the Public Art posts on the blog.