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    The Story of the Cornell Bear

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    March 18, 2013


    The Story of the Cornell Bear

    From Book to Sculpture: A Story of Public Art is the next event in the text & conText series at the Arsenal Center for the Arts. John Foote, author of Touchdown: The Story of the Cornell Bear, and sculptor Brian Caverly will discuss their roles in a Cornell University public sculpture project aimed for completion in time for Homecoming 2015. The sculpture will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Touchdown the Bear as well as the University’s sesquicentennial. Although Cornell does not have an official mascot, there are numerous stories about the four Touchdown bears that brought luck to the university football team. The bear graphic printed on Cornell t-shirts, mugs, ties, and other paraphernalia pays homage to the black bears, all named Touchdown, who once prowled Cornell campus. The first bear appeared in 1915 at the invitation of the football team and, by coincidence or not, that was the year Cornell’s team was undefeated for the first time and laid claim to its first national football championship. There were three more Touchdowns, one each in 1916, 1919 and 1939, all exhibiting the curious, mischievous, “otherwise-thinking” Cornell character, climbing the goal post at games and performing other antics. Foote’s 2008 book spurred interest in Cornell alumni to fund a nearly 6’ bronze statue of the “iconic Cornell personality,” as the author calls Touchdown. A website for the project has been created at New York City-based sculptor Caverly has produced several clay models of Touchdown as the design has evolved, using images of wild black bears and consulting with wildlife experts to cast an accurate, naturalistic bear cub. Cornell alum Foote, President of the Arsenal Center Board of Directors, is a senior fellow at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School where he examines the public policy aspects of private sector investment in transportation.

    Arsenal Center for the Arts

    321 Arsenal Street
    Watertown, MA 02472

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    Phone: 617-923-0100

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