The Project

When Bears become Art

The Gathering Place invites the community to join the “Bears in the Summit” project as a Downtown Bear sponsor, artist, or volunteer.

Spring is right around the corner and black bears will begin walking through neighborhoods. To celebrate the Abington’s harmony with these furry critters, The Gathering Place has launched a community art project, “Bears in the Summit.” The project follows in the footsteps of the famous Cows on Parade in Chicago, the Miles of Mules in northeastern Pennsylvania, and the Black Bear Film Festival in Milford, Pennsylvania.

This July, during the height of blueberry season, artfully decorated bear statues will be displayed throughout downtown Clarks Summit. The Gathering Place will hold a dedication day with a meet-the-artist event, a bear-themed coloring book created by artists, a walking tour through downtown Clarks Summit to see the bears, a short walk on the Trolley Trail with a naturalist, and other family-oriented activities.

The Gathering Place is inviting the community to participate in several ways:

  • Sponsor a Downtown Bear: Businesses, nonprofits, agencies, schools, and individuals are invited to sponsor a bear. The cost is $300. Each bear, measuring 10” deep x 45” long x 28” high and affixed to a base, will be transformed from a lowly foam hunting target into a piece of original artwork. The bear will be permanently placed in downtown Clarks Summit at the sponsor’s location.

  • Decorate a Bear: Artists interested in creating a Downtown Bear are encouraged to apply. Professional artists, amateur painters, and school students are welcome to submit their ideas. The Gathering Place will provide a stipend to cover the cost of supplies and an artist fee. The finalists will be chosen by a committee of representatives from The Gathering Place and the community.

  • Coloring Book Drawing: In a separate project, artists are invited to submit one or more original bear-themed drawings for the “Bears in the Summit” coloring book. Drawings can depict a natural-style bear, a cartoon bear, or a bear in popular culture, such as a teddy bear, Smokey the Bear or Baloo. Again, artists of all abilities are encouraged to participate.

  • Join the “Bears in the Summit” Committee: The Gathering Place welcomes community members to help out on the project committee. The committee will choose the artwork for the bear statues and coloring book, create fun, family-friendly and inclusive activities for the dedication day in July, and help to promote the project.

  • Support the Project: The “Bears in the Summit Day” program book will have information about the day’s activities, a map showing the location of each Downtown Bear, artist profiles, and more. Listings start as low as $10, and ad space begins at $50.

Those interested in joining the “Bears in the Summit” committee should contact The Gathering Place at GatheringPlaceCS@gmail.com or (570) 575-8352.

The project has been supported by a Lackawanna County Community Arts and Culture Grant, a program of Lackawanna County Commissioners Chris Chermak, Jerry Notarianni, and Debi Dominick, Esq. and a grant from the Lackawanna Valley Heritage Authority.