Downtown Cherokee is "alive" with colorfully painted fiberglass bears that are part of a public art program featuring the talents of
local Tribal artists. Each one of the bears represents an aspect of Cherokee culture.
Here is my next surprise find. Wonderfully painted bears seen on the streets of the small town of
"Each bear is so colorful, but what's most important is that each one tells a story, inspired by our Tribal artists." said George Lambert, director of marketing for Cherokee Travel & Tourism.The idea for the Bears Project started in 2005 as Cherokee wanted to showcase the variety of talented artists within the Qualla Boundary. A committee researched several ideas prior to selecting a bear theme as they wished to produce something that would be culturally significant. Bears are a large part of the Cherokee culture.
Several Eastern Band of Cherokee artists have created a series of large, life-like fiberglass bears and painted them in bright vibrant colors and designs.The artists responsible for creating the colorful bears are: Joel Queen, Faren Sanders Crews, Helen Smoker Martin, Mario Esquivel, Lora Powell, Melissa Maney, Nikki Nations, Tim Chiltoskie, Marina Robbins, William Harris, Jr. and Jenean Hornbuckle.