Would you like to decorate a 4-foot wide, 4-foot long white fiberglass bear which will be on display throughout the Boyertown area?

The project was originally designed to help build a better Boyertown--and have some fun too. The Bear Fever project was begun to promote the arts, feature artistic talent, foster community pride, spirit and cohesiveness, and allow our young people to learn from us by having them work side-by-side with artists, business owners, community leaders, volunteers, and civic groups.

The project continues; and while students are no longer involved, the project continues to be enjoyed by residents of the Boyertown Area School District community and surrounding areas along with those who visit our beloved community.

A stipend of $600 is offered to the artist for time and materials.

If you are interested in becoming an artist for a future Bear Fever sculpture, contact Jane Stahl.

If you don't find your photo included--or you want to add another--send it to me Jane Stahl, janeEstahl@comcast.net

Lesta comments on her painting and her “signature.”

Children of the World – this painting resulted from an almost magnetic attraction to the faces of specific children that I came across in various magazines, books, and calendars. In each child there is some spark of appeal that seems to resonate with these times of changing consciousness about our planet and the responsibility we share as a global family to promote mutual recognition and assistance.

In each child there is some expression of the rainbow of human emotions mirrored in all of us. One child whispers secret affection; another insists on being seen. One communicates a gentle compassion, another brims with sorrow. One radiates pride and promise; another retreats in shy uncertainty. One pierces the viewer with clarity; another sees the viewer through the smile of love.

As I tried to capture the essences of these children from Afghanistan, America, China, Mali, Nepal, and Tibet, I found myself captured by the purity of each message. The best way to portray what was speaking to me was to get out of my own way and allow each personality to speak for itself. In the end, I am as
surprised by the family that gathered itself on canvas right before my eyes as if I did nothing but introduce them to one another, and to you.

There’s a story behind why I sign my paintings with a symbol that looks like a C with a head and legs. After the passing of my father, Harry Bertoia, a world-renowned artist, I found in his work area three key-sized figures he’d made of bronze.

After giving one each to my brother and sister, I took one home and placed it on a ledge in the stone wall of my bedroom. It had been perched in the same spot for sixteen years, a tiny representation of a female figure, when I leaned back from a painting I’d just completed and wished my father could be present to see it. He would be able to answer my questions: “Have I finally achieved a level of mastery that can turn into a career? Is this painting good enough to consider selling?”

Suddenly a chill went up my spine as I heard a “Ting!” behind me. Electrified in every cell, I turned around. The woman-key had fallen – or been pushed? – from the stone wall onto my desk. The room filled with a presence and the word YES. Tears came to my eyes, and I knew I’d been answered. In the intervening eleven years, I have signed every painting of hundreds that have sold with that precious-to-me symbol of confirmation, not only of my artistic ability, but of the enduring energy of love.

Lesta Bertoia stands beside her high school friends Ron and Susan Spier at the Butter Valley Art Show held in Pennsburg October 15, 2005, before saying “good-bye” to the collage they purchased at the show created from stones and driftwood.
The sale of Lesta’s collage brought funds for the Lorax Foundation, a nonprofit organization which promotes the conservation of the Butter Valley area.
A collection of Lesta Bertoia’s work offered at the Art of the Butter Valley exhibit and sale on October 15, 2005, showcases the versatility Lesta displays in her work. Acrylics in both abstract and realistic styles and collages are featured.

Lesta Bertoia’s painting entitled “Children of the World” features the beauty found in the faces of many races and cultures. This painting was purchased by Bear Fever and presented to Boyertown School District on behalf of their shared mission: building community cohesiveness.

The painting will be offered to Boyertown High School’s library along with a plaque naming Bear Fever’s participating artists and sponsors—further testament to the commitment to diversity within the community.

Thank You to the Artists:

Joey Adams Lettering.

Linda Austerberry and members of Sparks Soccer Team.

Debra Benfield Burkert and members of the Arts Expo 2005 Committee.

Lesta Bertoia.

Val Bertoia,

Kylene Bertoia-Hart.

Susan Biebuyck

Christine Burnley.

Ken Burton.

Amanda Cappelletti.

Martha Cawley.

Doreen Cechak and students and staff of Washington Elementary School.

Mary Chisak.

Arline Christ.

Kelly Coughlin.

Thomas Dareneau and students of Boyertown
Senior High School.

Diane and Chris Dietz.

Doug Davidheiser.

Chris D’Antonio.

Katie DiStefano,

Paula Stackonis,

James Rogge,

Pam White and students and staff of Boyertown Elementary School.

Amanda Drewicz.

Steve Fegely.

Gail Fronheiser.

Steve Garrison.

Alice Gerhart.

Dennis Graber.

Jeff Graber.

Daniel Guest.

Candi Haas-Simmons.

Mike Hale.

Jaci Hardgrove.

Chris Harley.

Harry’s Tattooing and members of the Boyertown community.

Janelle Heckman.

Joe Hoover.

Maribeth Huber,

Joanne Santoliquito and students and staff of Gilbertsville Elementary School.

Jess Kemp,

Valerie King,

Nancy Klock.

Julie Longacre.

Molly Lorenz and students and staff of Pine Forge Elementary School.

Ed Luterio.

Alan MacBain.

Bob McGee.

Diana McKee,

Patti Milam.

Josie Moore.

Grace Pirog.

Dave Plum.

Kristin Quigley.

Colleen Quigney and students and staff of Colebrookdale Elementary School.

Christine Quinlin.

Geoffrey Quinter.

Barbara Strawser.

Melissa Strawser.

Jarod Strouse.

Taylor Backes and Tibitu Glass.

Sam Terkowski.

Erin Wade.

Elizabeth Wagner.

Sue Weller.

Bob Williams.

Shanea Wisler.

Sandra Wood.

Jenn Yates.

Karen Youse and members of The Center at Spring Street.