Group trying to replace iconic Beaver Creek bear sculpture |

Group trying to replace iconic Beaver Creek bear sculpture

Walt Horton's whimsical bronze sculpture, "Repentance," depicting a small Native American boy who accidentally shot a bear with an arrow. It stood near the entrance of Beaver Creek Village for 16 years, before its owner finally moved it. The Beaver Creek Center for the Arts is raising $300,000 to replace it.
Special to the Daily |

If You Go ...

What: Where’s the Bear? Fundraiser.

When: 5-8 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Horton Fine Art Gallery, Beaver Creek.

More information: The Beaver Creek Foundation for the Arts is raising money to replace an iconic work by Walt Horton that used to be at the entrance to Beaver Creek Village. Call 970-343-4260, go to or email

BEAVER CREEK — There’s bear-sized hole in Beaver Creek and some locals want to fill it with bronze.

Not so long ago, Walt Horton’s iconic bronze sculpture, “Repentance,” was moved by the private collector who bought it a few years ago.

The Beaver Creek Foundation for the Arts is hosting Where’s the Bear?, a benefit to set them on their way to raising the $300,000 it will take to replace the sculpture.

You remember it. The massive bear is gazing at a repentant Native American boy who accidentally shot the bear with an arrow. For 16 years, it stood between the St. James and the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek. It was moved then by its out-of-state owner.

A small, spirited group is raising money to replace it. Horton died in 2010, but there’s one clay mold left and they want to cast a sculpture to replace it.

Deana Allen, a life-long visitor to the resort, started the campaign last summer. The Bear was an annual photo stop for Allen and her family until it was removed.

“To bring back the bear is something that defines Beaver Creek Village and something that makes it special for generations to come,” Allen said. “We hope this will spark interest in the Vail and Beaver Creek communities so that we can reach our goal and bring back the bear.”

Allen is intent on replacing the bear so that families may enjoy the majestic and whimsical sculpture for generations to come.

Horton’s family maintains a gallery in his name in Beaver Creek Village that bears his name.

Allen hopes to raise the money by the end of next year.

Saturday’s fundraiser will feature live music, beverages and light appetizers.

“Few elements make a place as special and memorable as art,” said Allen.

Allen has been coming to Beaver Creek for more than two decades, first as a child with her family and now with her own family. They always stopped for a few minutes to visit the bear and the boy.

“It’s a touchstone for all the memories from Beaver Creek over the years,” Allen said. “I’m not huge art connoisseur, and I’ve never cried over a piece of art before. But I stood there and cried when I heard it was gone.”

About Artist Walt Horton

Horton was a cartoonist, bronze sculptor, invented sling golf and collected rare Biblical manuscripts, but you know him best for his sculptures depicting children and animals — such as “Repentance.”

He told the story of “Repentance” that happened in the early 1990s. He was visiting Aspen and wandered into a gallery looking for a children’s sculpture. He had no experience with sculpture other than “in school playing around with Play-Doh.” He sculpted a little boy reading a book to his teddy bear. The gallery called a couple hours later, saying it had been sold. A couple hours after that he got another call saying a second one had been sold.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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