By Pete Zamplas
Hendersonville – Peaceful black bears are quietly guarding Downtown Hendersonville all summer long.
The Bearfootin’ Public Art Walk is on the sidewalk along the one-mile Main Street, until the 20 figurines are auctioned Oct. 24 starting 5 pm. The new auction site is the Center for Art and Entertainment, formerly Playhouse Downtown, at 125 S. Main St.
Bids start at $1,000. Proxy bids are welcome, until Oct. 20. Since 2003, this civic outdoor art project has generated money for non-profits and greater awareness of them. The auction last year raised more than $57,400, boosting local charities and paying for ensuing figurines start-up costs, organizers noted.
They said winning bids up to $3,000 are split evenly between the non-profit chosen by the sponsor and the city’s Downtown Hendersonville program. The portion of the bid exceeding $3,000 fully goes to the designated non-profit.
Nature, Pet Themes
There are three poses of these porcelain figures. Nine are on all fours, six are standing upright, and five are a mother bear holding its cub.
Nearly all bears are on corners of Main and side streets. An exception is one named Autumn. It is on the east side of Main, between West Allen and First Avenue near its sponsor Coldwell Banker King. Rich Prazan painted trees with colorful fall leaves on most of this bear. The Housing Assistance Corp. is the beneficiary.
Buzz the Pollinator Bear is adorned with colorful flowers. It was done by Tom Turner and sponsored by Stan and Jill Turner. It benefits Stand T.A.L.L. which funds local law enforcement needs. It is on Third Ave. East.
For the Love of Dogs benefits the Hendersonville Police Department Canine Fund and Warrior Canine Connection. The Hendersonville Kennel Club sponsored its start-up cost. Terri Everwine painted a light blue bear and on it colorful images of various breeds of dogs — with some prancing about. This figurine is on the west side of Third and Main.
Canines are also on Dog Days, at Sixth Avenue East. It benefits The Storehouse ministry. Steve Lucas and Patricia Whitton are its artists. The sponsorship is in memory of Annie Lucas.
The Faces of Rescue has three cats on one side of the bear, and three dogs on the other. Carol Clay is the artist. Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue is the beneficiary. Sponsors are Gizmo & Lola, Gaffney Consulting, and Looking Glass Realty. All of the aforementioned bears are on four paws.
Lady Bearcat benefits the Hendersonville High Lady Bearcat soccer program and is sponsor by players’ parents. Aubrey Bish is the artist. This upright bear has a red and white uniform and number 20 for this year. It is at the start of West Allen.
The Age of Abearius at Fourth Ave. West is pop art by Heidi Mayfield, featuring a colorful sun. Habitat for Humanity is its beneficiary, and Friends of Habitat the sponsor.
Three more bears also are each on four paws. They have a steady pattern on the entire bear. Abigail Ghrist’s Chance, which benefits the Blue Ridge Humane Society, is a flowing sea of various-colored leaves. The sponsor is Charlotte Sheppard, a realtor with Keller Williams Mountain Partners. It is on First Ave. West.
Thea by Miriam Hughes and Laura Bell is simply a dark blend of red-brown tones, with no artwork on top. It benefits United Way of Henderson County and is sponsored by BMW of Asheville. It is on First Ave. W. Apples a Plenty by Teresa Duncan is an abstract image of apples on vines with much greenery. This bear is at Second Ave. West. It benefits the Interfaith Assistance Ministry. United Community Bank sponsored it.
Mother and Cub
Five have the mother and cub combo. Good Morning, Glory by Diane Dean benefits its sponsor, Smart Start Partnership for Children. Together as One by Career Academy Art students benefits True Ridge, a local Hispanic advocacy agency, with its “Friends” the figurine sponsor. Honey Bears by Sandee Setliff benefits its sponsor, The Friends of Downtown Hendersonville.
Sunflower Bears by Lauren Younis benefits sponsor Safelight. Exceptional Bear benefits Special Needs Individuals in Hendersonville. Civitan is the sponsor. Artists are Cheri Novak, Char Snyder, and Jennifer Hajduk Camp.
The other six bears are standing up. Fezzy the Oasis Shrine Bear by Kevin Burnzart is a vivid yellow-gold. Sponsored by the Hendersonville Shrine Club, it benefits the area Shriners Hospital for Children. PeaBear by sponsors Pamela J. Whitney and John T. Ward benefits Great Pyrenees Rescue of Western N.C.
Our Four Seasons by Dee Ballenger benefits sponsor Hendersonville Family YMCA. It features scenes of river flora and a cabin in the snow. Bear Appetit by Patricia Sweet has a twisted tree as home to owl and other wildlife. It benefits the Interfaith Assistance Ministry. “Walt and Jack” are its sponsors.
Riley, a farming bear wearing overalls, is at the end of the 100 Block of North Main Street with those merchants its sponsor. Patricia Worsham sketched block images such as the Historic Courthouse, and apple shoppers.
For a brochure of bear images and map sites, go to the Visitor Center at 201 S. Main St.