Miami, June 29, 2016 – Miami Dade College’s (MDC) North Campus will unveil a new sculpture donated by the German Consulate of Miami. The sculpture, Buddy Bear, is part of a street art project that originated in Berlin and will be permanently housed at the North Campus’ Miami International Sculpture Park, home to many large sculptures and a myriad of smaller sculptures that beautify the 245-acre campus. The new sculpture will be unveiled at 11 a.m., Wednesday, July 6, at MDC North Campus. There will be a reception following the unveiling.
“The North Campus is the ideal home for the Buddy Bear, given the diversity of our Campus and our institution’s open door to educational opportunity for persons from all walks of life. The gift of such an important symbol of world friendship is greatly appreciated,” said MDC North Campus President, Dr. Malou C. Harrison.
The Buddy Bear sculpture was donated to MDC painted plain white (a blank canvas) and the campus was given artistic freedom to design and paint it. Students were asked to submit their design ideas. After reviewing the submissions, the winner was graphic arts student Abraham Vargas, whose design was inspired by geometric shapes. Visual arts students then painted the sculpture over the course of a month to bring his design to life. MDC Professors Eric Cornish and Victor Gomez were instrumental in bringing it all together.
The story of the life-sized, fiberglass Buddy Bears began with an artistic event in Berlin in 2001. Inspired by the idea of bringing art to the streets of a metropolis, Buddy Bears creators Klaus und Eva Herlitz decided to start a street art project in Berlin. It was quickly agreed that a bear would be the ideal sculpture for the backdrops of the German metropolis. The bear – Berlin’s heraldic animal with a high level of public appeal – was envisaged to capture the hearts of Berliners and their guests in various different designs. Two master students of the famous Berlin University of the Arts realized the first Buddy Bear. Anne and Roman Strobel – two friends of the Herlitz family – designed the siblings of the first Buddy Bear.
A few months later, the initial Buddy Bear was ready for the first public appearance in Berlin. Since June 2001, more than 100 bears were created and presented in different locations all over the city.
The bears have become an integral part of Berlin’s cityscape and travel around the world on their global tour. In addition, the circle of United Buddy Bears was created in 2002. Each bear in the circle represents a country acknowledged by the United Nations. The United Buddy Bears travel around the world promoting tolerance and international understanding – always standing together hand in hand.
“With the creation of the Buddy Bear, the century-old heraldic animal of Berlin took a new shape and adopted a new role in 2001,” said Consul General of Germany Jürgen Borsch. “Buddy Bear is now an ambassador promoting tolerance and living together in peace all over the world. Over the last 15 years, hundreds of international artists painted many different bears with individual designs. I am happy to welcome the newest Buddy Bear to MDC North Campus – a wonderful symbol of our friendship.”
Another Buddy Bear sculpture is currently on display at the German Consulate Office in Miami.