• Susan Biebuyck, firstname.lastname@example.org, 484-332-2757
• Firefly Café, 12 N Reading Ave, Boyertown
“Juju,” sponsored by Firefly Café’s owners Lori Wade and her husband Michael, has been a long time in coming. “Juju’s” story began over five years ago. Lori explains: “We first approached Jane Stahl with the idea for our bear back in 2018. It took us a couple of years to save the money, and then Covid happened, but five years later we are so thrilled to finally introduce Juju to the world. We wanted Juju to encompass everything that Firefly loves and stands for—plant-based living, connecting with nature, and most of all, kindness and acceptance.
“We were so thrilled when Sue Biebuyck offered to be our artist…not only is she wonderfully talented, but she shares our passion for nature and equality for all. We want Firefly’s legacy to be as a place that is happy, inclusive, and compassionate, and we could not be more excited with how Juju represents that.”
Susan Biebuyck, fine artist and gallery director for Boyertown’s Studio B Fine Art Gallery, volunteered to paint “Juju” as a way to honor the passions that inspired the vegan café’s presence in Boyertown. Biebuyck is dedicated to protecting and celebrating the natural world and describes herself as a “foodie.”
In describing the theme represented on “Juju,” she explains, “I based the design of this bear on the electric light spectrum which represents visual energy. It's about energy from food, energy from the colors which allow me to create art, about the generosity of Lori and Michael of Firefly, and the energy from the wonderful community of Boyertown.”
As an artist known for painting food, she covered “Juju” with images of fruits, vegetables, and succulents. And, as artists are known to hide secrets or personal messages in their work— “Easter eggs”—Susan painted a variety of them on “Juju.” For example, the lemons and cucumbers that appear “front and center” on the bear’s apron are a nod to the lemon and cucumber water that had always been available at Firefly when the café served food inside.
A bumblebee and firefly are featured on the bear—references to the sponsor’s and the artist’s names. A variety of edible flowers appear on the bear; there’s a dandelion painted on the bear’s right arm for Jane (Stahl), Bear Fever’s Mama Bear; the only non-edible plant, but requested by Lori, is the passion flower found on the base of the bear. And symbolizing her respect for all individuals and the transcendence that Firefly represents and brings to the community, the bear’s apron is painted in rainbow colors.
Jeff Graber of Graber Letterin' added a clear coat to the bear as protection from the weather and brought him to Boyertown for installation.