Send in the bears

Artists get their forms and get to work in preparation for this year's Black Bear Film Festival


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  • The bears are ready for their transformation. Artists picked up their forms Saturday at Luna Parc. (Photo By Stephanie Giaquinto)




  • Adrienne Butvinik




  • Ricky Boscarino




  • KJ Sakura




  • Julia Healy




  • Todd Anderson




  • Tamara D'Antoni




  • Gary Dodd



By Stephanie Giaquinto

— I thought I was Goldilocks as I trekked up a hill last Saturday to Luna Parc, artist Ricky Boscarino’s wonderfully whimsical home — a split-level masterpiece with mosaic walls, cork and bottle-cap art, and paintings. Everywhere I looked, I saw something to capture my fancy. I also saw sculpted bears — more than three, which, in time, will be more than “just right.”

The artists

Richard D’Ambrosio
Adrienne Butvinik
Gary Dodd
Jimmy Sheehan
Julia Healy
KJ Sakura
Robert Krause
Sean Addy
Tamara D’Antoni
Todd Anderson
Ricky Boscarino

Local artists, each given $50 — they can choose to spend more of their own funds — will repurpose the bears, which are commonly used for hunting targets. They will decorate and modify them into works of art as part of the annual Black Bear Film Festival coming up this fall.

Julia Healy said she will coat her bear. While she's keeping the name and design top secret for now, she says she doesn't want her bear to be “cutesy.” She lives part-time in Port Jervis and deeply appreciates the area for its natural beauty and serenity. She prefers to be here, rather than in Manhattan, where she teaches painting at the City University of New York. And she has a much larger studio here! She caught the art bug in first grade. She has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

KJ Sakura volunteered with the film festival in its third year. She's a visual artist who prefers the modalities of sculpture, photography, and film. Two years ago, she decorated her first bear. She will do another this year, but with a couple of caveats. Because her first bear was stolen only four days after it was purchased, she plans to make this year's bear burglar-proof. Also, in order to make her bear more attractive to prospective buyers, she wants it to be “eccentric and unique but purchasable.” She wants to create a bear that someone would feel comfortable displaying on his or her property. There are stresses inherent in the project, she said — the time limit, the outdoor elements, and the fact that thousands will view her work.

Jerry Beaver is the founding president of the film festival. He said there's a “bear picnic” in town in August where the public can view all of the artists' creations. Businesses and artists sponsor the bears, and each is placed in front of a sponsoring business.

In October, at the end of the film festival, a silent auction will be held where anyone may place a bid for a bear. The proceeds from the sale will benefit the film festival, a celebration of independent filmmaking.

For more information visit blackbearfilm.com.

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