• Debra Benfield, Boyertown High School Art Instructor
    Boyertown High School Students
    Fourth and Monroe Streets
    Boyertown, PA 19512


  • TriCounty Chamber of Commerce
    Dale Mahle
    High Street
    Pottstown, PA 19464
    FAX 610-970-9705

TriCounty Chamber of Commerce—“Artie” the Arts Expo 2005 Bear

First things first: Bear Fever offers a giant bear hug for Dale Mahle, president of the TriCounty Chamber of Commerce.

Dale’s support for the Bear Fever project was immediate and profound. Not only did she secure funds to sponsor two bears, but the 2004 Boyertown Progress Dinner became the “kick off” event for Bear Fever.

Two “raw” bear forms were the featured decorations at the event; Boyertown’s school colors—red and black—appeared everywhere: napkins, ice cream toppings, outfits. Excitement and enthusiasm for Bear Fever spread rapidly from Dale’s leadership and efforts.

And so, the Bear Fever Committee wanted to find the perfect artists for this VIP Bear Fever bear. Naturally, because the project focuses on student involvement and because the TriCounty Chamber consistently creates opportunities for career development, we wanted students to be the artists in charge. And what more perfect students than those involved in Boyertown High School’s annual Arts Expo.

Debra Benfield, BASH art instructor, offered to mentor the students who created BASH’s 2005 Arts Expo bear after holding out for a “golf bear.” (Throughout the project, she kept hoping the committee needed an artist to do a “golf” bear.)

“Mrs. Stahl was tough to say “no” to since our first bear (Townie, one of BASH’s prototype bears) was so successful,” Debbie explained. “But I’m hopeful that others feel the same about our Arts Expo bear and that I can see success in Rachel’s eyes,” she added.

Rachel loves to paint and enjoys the involvement with the community that Bear Fever has inspired. She hopes to add “Artie” to her portfolio to present to colleges when she applies.

Commenting on the entire project, Debbie said, “Seeing the bears just makes you feel good; I’m hopeful that everyone enjoys the project and the variety of creative efforts when all the bears come together.”

Debbie’s interests in art are matched by her interests in running, golf, gardening, shopping, and family. Her goals are to see something different everyday, make someone smile everyday, express her love for her children everyday, and help her students enjoy their art experiences at BASH.

“Artie” features puzzle pieces fashioned in assorted artistic styles and seems a perfect theme for one arm of Bear Fever’s mission: promoting the arts—all kinds, all styles.

Senior Crystal Zakszeski followed “Artie’s” progress and hopes that the Boyertown community will enjoy looking at the Bear Fever bears as much as she enjoyed the mules in Bethlehem and that folks will have an opportunity to meet new people as she has been able to do through her involvement in the project