The Buddy Bear is officially coming to the Queen City!
Charlotte will soon boast another landmark – a colorful tribute to the city’s economic and cultural ties to the German community. The efforts to attain this public art gift were led by Kurt Waldthausen, former Honorary Consul of Germany in North Carolina.
The project was sponsored by the Alemannia Society,
the German Saturday School, the German American Chamber of Commerce, the German Language and Culture Foundation, Kuehne & Nagel Inc., and Regina & Kurt Waldthausen. The group of donors also worked closely with the Arts & Science Council, Public Art Commissioner Suzanne Fetscher, and the McColl Center for Visual Art.
For the City of Charlotte, the gift is a great honor, since it is the only curated Buddy Bear in the U.S. The six foot tall, pastel-painted fiberglass statue is supposed to showcase Charlotte’s cultural as well as economic relations to Germany. It will be installed in front of the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. And, the bear’s big smile also resembles big history: Mecklenburg County and Charlotte were originally named after Queen Charlotte from Meckleburg Stewitz in Germany.
The designer, Sharon Dowell, was selected among 11 local artists to paint the sculpture. She was inspired by the German Queen and her love for botanical aesthetics, which she used as her imageries. The dogwood flower, the state flower of North Carolina, is also incorporated in the design.
In March 2014, Dowell was flown to Berlin to paint the sculpture at the United Buddy Bears’ headquarters, and the ‘bear from Berlin’ then made its journey to uptown Charlotte. On June 10, 2014, the Buddy Bear will finally be installed.
More information will be posted soon on the GACC South – NC Chapter’s event site.
Buddy Bear in local media:
International ‘Buddy Bear’ art project heading to Charlotte – Time Warner Cable News, May 15, 2014
SHARON DOWELL’S BUDDY BEAR DESIGN WINS – Untied Buddy Bears, March 26, 2014
Buddy Bear art sculpture approved by Charlotte City Council – Charlotte Business Journal, February 24, 2014