Bears and zoo animals are roaming the streets of Greater Lafayette

Lafayette — Greater Lafayette is now home to a menagerie of whimsical art this summer.

The first batch — 40 "Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!" painted by local artists — have been brought to the community by the Art Museum, the Bob Rohrman Auto Group and many local sponsors. 

The second group, called The Zoo —30 award-winning life-size critters created from recycled materials —are sponsored by the City of Lafayette and Regions Bank and the Purdue University Veterinary Department will join the herd on June 5.

"Greater Lafayette is the home of 37 bears, two lions and one tiger," said Kendall Smith, the executive director of the museum. ""Many professional area artists and schools have created some really amazing, colorful and exciting creatures for the enjoyment of our community this summer."

Although the bears will be introduced formally to the community at the 'Round the Fountain Art Fair, on May 23, all of the animals have been installed in advance of the May 15 Gallery Walk in Downtown Lafayette.  That evening, the Art Museum will operate a welcome center 6-9 p.m. in the Bison Financial Building, 9th and Main Streets, to provide information and family activities.

In the past, the museum-sponsored event has produced frogs, hogs and dogs. This year, a new feature will include an interactive iPhone app (Art Museum of Greater Lafayette-Events), developed by Cellaflora, a software development company in West Lafayette. The app will provide a walking map to help users locate each of the art pieces and provide information about the artists and business sponsors. The bears' territory will run from the 9th Street entrance to the Art Museum through Downtown Lafayette to the top of State Street hill in West Lafayette.

The walking bears stand 4 feet tall and more than 5 feet long. The seated bears are the same height and 3 feet in diameter. The fiberglass animals were produced by Cowpainters LLC, of Chicago, which has assisted with more than 500 public art projects like this.

The Zoo art is the work of artist Dale Teachout, of Royal Oak, Mich., a top finalist for the Grand Rapids Art Prize 2014. The sculptor made the life-size animals using reused plastic, metal, rubber and other materials rescued from landfills.  His art will be on display until Sept. 8.

At the end of the summer, the bears and zoo animals will be ready for adoption by their sponsors. Those not sponsored will be auctioned at the "Zoo-bilee Celebration", which is open to the public, Oct. 3 at the Rohrman Toyota showroom on Ind. 26 E.

More information:

Diamond Sponsor: Bob Rohrman Auto Group (two lions);

Sapphire Sponsor: Michael Richard Raisor Foundation Inc. (one tiger);

Platinum Sponsors: DeFouw Chevrolet; the City of Lafayette; the City of West Lafayette; Westminster Village; Cargill Inc.; M. P. Baker Electric Inc.; Kirby Risk Corp.; Jim and Lisa Schrader; Reed and Company, PC: Tom and Barb Reed;  Holder Law Office; Long Companies and Tom and Susan McCully; United Way-Read to Succeed; Lafayette Limo; Arni’s; Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health; Southwestern Middle School; Steve and Terri Reed; Timberstone Homes; Muinzer Moving and Storage; Purdy Concrete; Lausch Photography; Fairfield Contractors; Awards Unlimited; Just Natalie Graphic Design; Cellaflora Software Development 

Gold Sponsors: Bennett, Boehning and Clary LLP; Lifelong Fitness; Bison Financial; Huth Thompson; John and Debby Cusack; La-Z-Boy Furniture; Lafayette Community Bank; Old National Bank Williamson Eye Institute; Adrienne Glatz Memorial Fund; Regions Bank; Keystone Architecture; Lafayette Bank and Trust; Sheila and Vic Klinker; John and Prella McBride 

Silver Sponsors: Coldwell Banker Shook; Evonik Industries; INOK Investments; 1st Source Bank Trust Department; Wendy's and Heart of Art patrons.

Bronze Sponsors: Mather Vision Group; Kiwanis Club; JR Kelly Construction;One Source Rentals; McCutcheon High School

Artists are Lorie Amick, LaDonna Vohar, Rebecca Brody, Tom Blumling, Zach Medler, Sandra Daniel, Rena Brouwer, Jill Baker, Janet Ivas, Jeff Klinker, Darlene Mitchell, Dave Sattler, Angela Vinson, Jessica Reseigh, Ashley Phillips, Rachel Witt, Edward Trover, Steve Vaughan, Bonnie Zimmer, Lincoln Luehmann, Jerie Artz, Judy Titche, Louie Laskowski, Stacy Bogan, Erin Hamrick, Nicole Paraskevas, Bobbi Smith, Ken Klim, Gabriela Sincich, Jenn Tordil, Sara Furbush, Morgan Asay, Elizabeth Lincourt, Sharon Owens, Kellsi Luehmann, and students from the Battleground and Wea Ridge middle schools, Burnett Creek Elementary School, Melinda Gilbert's Jefferson High School U.S. history and government classes, and the McCutcheon High School National Art Honor Society.


Contact Information
Kendall Smith: office: (765)742-1128,

The Zoo:
Dale Teachout: