A public unveiling of a bronze brown bear will be held Friday at the Denali Visitor Center Campus in Denali National Park and Preserve.
The statue of a resting bear was created by long-time Denali artist William D. Berry. Its dedication is set for 4:30 p.m.
The scupltor, who grew up in California, moved to Denali in the early 1950s when his wife, Elizabeth, landed a job with Camp Denali in the heart of the national park. Down through the years Mr. Berry has captured Denali’s wildlife on canvas and in sculpture from the family's home on the shores of Deneki Lake. This setting inspired Deneki: An Alaskan Moose, a children’s book loved by generations of Alaskans.
Among the artist's other works are several small sculptures of the park’s many iconic species, including moose, wolverine, and a female brown bear in a resting pose.
A life-size enlargement of the resting bear to be unveiled Friday was commissioned for installation at the Denali Visitors Center as part of a year-long celebration of Arts in Denali National Park.
Wally Cole, a long-time friend of the Berrys, has overseen the development of the statue from idea to installation. The 8-foot bronze is composed of 31 different castings, welded together by Juneau sculptor Skip Wallen. The statute is envisioned to be child-friendly as a place to sit and climb...and used by rangers during talks about being safe in bear country.
The casting and installation of the new statue was made possible by a generous gift of Elizabeth Berry to the Denali Institute (now Alaska Geographic) to support the Arts in Denali.
Alaska Geographic is proud to be the official nonprofit education partner of Alaska’s parks, forests, refuges, and other public lands. With more than 50 years experience connecting people to Alaska’s wild places, Alaska Geographic is a bookstore, publisher, educator, and supporter of Alaska’s spectacular wildlands.