News Flash

City of Grand Junction News

Posted on: June 29, 2022

Grand Junction Dedicates Bear Sculpture and “Bear In The Woods” Mural At Lincoln Park

bear statue with burlap and red ribbons above mural trees in background

The City of Grand Junction will dedicate a new bear sculpture and “Bear in the Woods” mural at Lincoln Park on Thursday, June 30, 2022, at 10 a.m. Mayor Pro Tem Abe Herman and Parks and Recreation Director Ken Sherbenou will address the honored guests who will include the donors of the 4,500 lb. lava bear statue, Gary and Lori Dean, and the “Bear in the Woods” mural artist Sarah Wandzilak. 

“The greater the diversity of our public art and other points of interest in our parks and recreation facilities, the more people are served and the greater the impact our parks and recreation system has in our community,” stated Parks and Recreation Director Ken Sherbenou. “The bear sculpture along with the mural will only further deepen the community’s love for Lincoln Park.”

Former County Commissioner Kathy Hall connected the City with Gary and Lori Dean owners of the 4,500 lb. lava rock bear statue. The massive bear sculpture constructed of lava rock was built by artist John Kessler and stands 11’ tall. City staff worked with the Commission on Arts and Culture to determine an appropriate location for the bear and decided Lincoln Park was the best spot given its history as the former home of the city zoo.

“I want to thank Gary and Lori Dean for donating this beautiful piece of art that the Grand Junction community will continue to enjoy for years to come,” stated Grand Junction Mayor Anna Stout. “This amazing sculpture and the compelling mural created by Sarah Wandzilak and titled “Bear in the Woods”, are delightfully unique additions to the City’s public art program which is made possible by our Commission on Arts and Culture.” 

Several crews were involved with relocating the giant bear including the City’s General Services and Parks and Recreation departments. A concrete foundation was poured and the framing created for the landing spot for the bear. It took six City staff to move the bear to its new location, and once he was placed and comfortable, City staff completed the bear’s new home with a new planter bed platform. The final step was adding plants which was completed by the Parks Horticultural team who filled the area around the bear with plants that are a normal part of a bear’s diet. In addition, following a “call for artists” the Commission on Arts and Culture selected a local artist Sarah Wandzilak for her “Bear in the Woods” mural which will also be dedicated at the ribbon cutting.  

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Contact: Sara Spaulding, Communications & Engagement Director | 970-244-1507 or saras@gjcity.org 

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