URSA MATER heritage plaza, tahoe city, CA


Tahoe City, CA, July 30, 2018

Tahoe Public Art is pleased to announce the unveiling ceremony for Ursa Mater (Mother Penny Bear), created by artist duo Mr. & Mrs. Ferguson, on Thursday, August 2, 2018 from 12:00 - 2:00 pm at Heritage Plaza in Tahoe City, CA. This temporary environmental art installation will be on exhibit for one year, through July 31, 2019, as part of the Tahoe Public Art Trail program.

This public art experience is made possible by the cooperation, collaborative efforts, reviews, and approvals from the following agencies in the North Lake Tahoe community: CalTrans, North Tahoe Fire Protection District, North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council, Placer County, Tahoe City Downtown Association, Tahoe City Public Utilities District, and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Heritage Plaza, a property owned by Placer County, is designed to preserve and enhance regional public beach access and recreational opportunities in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

Ursa Mater, a statement of a mother's love and protection, is both endearing and powerful. The 12-foot tall mother grizzly bear nestles her two cubs, the tallest is 6 feet tall, while the other is 5 feet tall. The sculpture's coat is made from 200,000 pennies (including ones from Canada, as the penny has been phased out from the country's currency) that were meticulously placed from shiny ones to older ones to make them look like fur, welcoming a tactile experience.

Husband and wife artists, Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, create detailed, interactive, often whimsical large-scale artworks that change visual and sensual perception as one gets closer to the art, including their penny-covered grizzly bears that premiered at Burning Man , “Ursa Major” (2016) and “Ursa Mater” (2017). “Ursa Major” is part of the Smithsonian's Renwick Gallery outdoor public art exhibit “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” currently on display in Washington, D.C.. "Ursa Mater" was recently exhibited as part of Downtown San Jose's Office of Cultural Affairs, Burning Man Project - Playa to Paseo. Next stop, Tahoe City!

Ursa Mater can help audiences become more aware of the disappearance of the endangered grizzly bear, who inspired this art, and become informed advocates helping to prevent their extinction. URSA MATER provides a stark reminder that the California grizzly bear (Ursus arctos californicus) is an extinct subspecies of the grizzly bear, yet it is still the official State Animal of California, honored on California's state flag.

URSA MATER is privately funded through Tahoe Public Art's sponsors and patrons, with a special thanks to Eleanor and Bob Preger, Steve Miller and Maureen Mullarkey-Miller, and Plumas Bank. Additional funding is coming in from local organizations and foundations to support free public programming including artist talks, stewardship opportunities, and environmental art workshops for children and youth.

The Tahoe Public Art Trail program places temporary and mobile environmental art installations at public, private, and resort locations around the Lake Tahoe Basin in California and Nevada. The goal of the program is to have a transformational effect on the greater Lake Tahoe community through art created by local, national, and international artists that incorporate local environmental themes and respond to socially relevant solutions. The program is designed to engage audiences in contemplating their civic responsibility and instill lasting values that embrace the preservation of the unique and fragile ecological diversity of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

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Tahoe Public Art's mission is to enhance the cultural landscape of the Tahoe Region by providing dynamic art experiences inspired by the Lake Tahoe Basin's natural beauty and heritage to create momentum towards local environmental and preservation efforts. TPA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in California and Nevada.


Tahoe Public Art | +1-530-580-8121 | info@tahoepublicart.org

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