Bear mania hits Harlan County

HARLAN, Ky. (AP) - Beware of bears in Harlan County.
Six of them are being placed in strategic places around the
county. But don't worry - the painted animals should be easy to
spot.
Artists and students are creating bear statutes, which will be
painted before being placed around the community.
The Cumberland Tourist and Convention Commission Director Tracey Bailey told the Harlan Daily Enterprise that the project is able to
go forward because of a $10,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional
Commission.
The bears will represent aspects of life in the southeastern
Kentucky community. One will be designed like a quilt, another will
be painted with a coal theme and another will have shapes of the
different communities in Harlan County.
"We'll have a traditional black bear, with teeth and eyes
painted, along with one where students at Cumberland Elementary
School will place their handprints on," said high school art
teacher Rhonda Robinson.
Appalachian artist Larry May, who was selected to design the
quilted bear, also conducted a workshop for art students at Harlan
County High School, who were entrusted with painting some of the
bears.
Robinson's advanced art portfolio students are designing and
painting the bear that will highlight something in each Harlan
County community.
Robinson said principal Bob Howard, who is also an artist, will
paint the coal-themed bear.
The Poor Fork Arts and Guild will also be participating in the
project by painting a patriotic bear.
Bailey said a community reception will be held when the bears
are painted so residents can see them before they are put on
display.
"We've had a lot of interest in this project," Bailey said.
"People are really excited about it. It's a unique grant and we'd
like to build on it each year."
Robinson said she expects the project to be a learning
experience for her students.
"This project is exposing our kids to Appalachian artists and
it helps them realize they can make an impact on their community
through the arts."
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Information from: Harlan Daily Enterprise,
http://www.harlandaily.com

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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