During the March equinox this year, Spirit Bear, a metal sculpture created by renowned artist Robin Tost, arrived at its new home at White Bear Center for the Arts (WBCA). Tost, who is originally from White Bear Lake, feels a connection with bears. “I’ve always liked bears,” she says. “I grew up on White Bear Lake, and there are lots of them around where I now live. Occasionally, they spend time at my house, destroying my bird feeders and cooling off in my tiny pond.” Tost explains that the sculpture is inspired by spirit bears, a rare subspecies of black bears that have white fur. These bears are revered and protected by the Indigenous people of British Columbia.
Spirit Bear began as a small bear prototype, made up of wadded-up newspaper and masking tape, which Tost later brought to a blacksmith friend who made the larger, hoop-shaped frame out of steel rods. Tost notes that she spent a great deal of time inside the wire frame as she stitched together the creature. Spirit Bear stands about 4 feet tall, made from found metal pieces, including a colander and fragments of license plates, and threaded together by wire to give a quilt-like appearance. The sculpture will be on view at WBCA for two years.
Karna Holub is the exhibitions manager at WBCA. Learn more about offerings and events at whitebeararts.org