What’s With The Giant Blue Bear In Downtown Denver?
No really, what's with the giant blue bear in downtown Denver?
I'm still fairly new to Colorado, so please, cut me some slack. Lucky for me, a little bit of research on the matter has brought me a lot of knowledge.
For starters, the “I See What You Mean” piece, also known as the “Big Blue Bear,” is hard to miss. The infamous bear is positioned with its paws against Denver’s Colorado Convention Center, and is said to weigh 10,000 pounds.
According to Denver.org, the blue, 40-foot-high bear, which injects a welcome sense of fun and playfulness into the convention center experience, was actually created by a local artist named Lawrence Argent. The massive piece of art was first installed in 2005 and has quickly become a bona fide Mile High City icon; it's also become a "can’t-miss" photo op for tourists and locals alike.
In an interview conducted before Lawrence Argent passed away in 2017, Denver.org spoke to the artist about the role of public art, including his own.
When asked why he had chosen to design a curious, giant blue bear for the city, Argent explained how he veered away from the 'staples' of Colorado, including its infamous scenery for his art piece, and looked more into the actual experiences Colorado residents have while living here:
"There's iconic Colorado imagery — the Rockies, the Flatirons and all that — that I think is a little bit overused, a little passé. So I thought about what it is like to be a resident here and the journey one takes down either corridor [14th St. or Speer Blvd] when one notices there is a convention occurring. I'm always interested in what might be going on in there, the exchange of information, ideas and ideologies. But there's never really any indication from the outside what's going on inside."
What's more interesting is that the giant blue bear was actually never meant to be blue at all.
"I had recently seen a photo in the newspaper of a black bear looking into someone's window and that resonated with me. As for the blue color, that was actually an accident — originally the bear was going to reflect the colors of Colorado, with sandstone colors and things like that. But a printout of the design came back blue by mistake, and I thought that was much more exciting. And it was serendipitous, because [I learned later that] the black bear was very important to the Native American Ute tribes that lived in Colorado — and also that one level of spiritual enlightenment for the Utes was the "blue" level", Argent told Denver.org.
According to Out There Colorado, by the time all was said and done, the big blue bear costed $424,400 to create (that's one expensive bear).
You can go check out the iconic site for yourself at 750-776 14th St. in Denver.
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