Limestone bear statue lands in village |

Limestone bear statue lands in village

Cassie Pence
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyArtist Robert Tully created a bear sculpture for a play area in Vail Village at the top of Wall Street.

VAIL – A crane gently dropped off a 9,500-pound limestone bear sculpture Friday in Vail Village as part of Vail’s “New Dawn” renovation project.The bear, sculpted by Robert Tully, who has a studio in Lyons, is part of a children’s play area at the top of Wall Street. When the area is finished Oct. 27, there will be three Tully sculptures, all which are designed for small children to climb and sit on. It will include the bear with a small cloud, a bighorn sheep butting and a big, brilliant white marble cloud, and the ground will be covered in a rubber surface that resembles a stream pattern.”The cloud is the centerpiece. It will be most prominent because the color will really stand out,” Tully said. “The cloud creates a dream-like environment. The cloud was something different and creative.”

The town wanted to incorporate regional animals, and it was important to Tully to create a fantasy scene. The artwork had to appeal to both kids and adults, being so prominent in the village. Small children love animals and the older kids want something cool and different, Tully said.”The fact you can jump off the bear helps,” he said.The bear is carved from Indiana limestone. Its face is docile and sweet because the bear is just waking up and starting to move. Along the bear’s rump, Tully has carved plants found along the rivers in Colorado, like thimble berry and Oregon grape. He then colored the leaves and berries with stain.

“Limestone carves easily, and you can get it in big blocks,” Tully said. “I wanted a stone that goes with the brown sandstone that is being used around in the village.”Town of Vail Project Manager Todd Oppenheimer collaborated with Art in Public Places (AIPP) to create the play area and the rest of the art that will be scattered about Vail Village for the New Dawn project. AIPP is in charge of finding the artists. Art in Public Places director Leslie Fickling sent out requests for proposals to various artists and received about five or six back. All the ideas were fantastic, Fickling said, but Tully’s fit the need for the Village.

“It seems like Robert has a deep connection with stone. He understands what it can be,” Fickling said.For Fickling, one of the most important elements of this play area is introducing art to children at a young age. For more information on Art in Public Places, contact Fickling at 479-2344.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or Colorado

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