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Berlin's Bears Take to the Streets

The idea started with painted, life-sized replicas of cows being placed around Zurich, Chicago, and last year, New York. It didn't take long for someone to realize that this sort of exhibit could be a success in Berlin as well. Instead of using cows, they would use the symbolic animal of Berlin - the bear. However, these bears would not be fierce creatures, but rather they would be friendly bears, the kind that you wouldn't mind meeting on the street. That's how the Buddy Bä Berlin show was born.

Two different models were sculpted: one is a bear on all four legs, which was named "the friend", and the other is a bear standing up, which was named "the dancer"with its upside-down version named "the acrobat". Different artists were asked to decorate the bears and sponsors were found to fund the project. On Juni 20th the first Buddy Bears were unveiled at Wittenbergplatz near KaDeWe. Since then, the exhibition has been growing on an almost daily basis. Everywhere from airports to storefronts, new bears are continueously appearing. Now over 200 bears adorn the sidewalks of Berlin and you are likely to run into them on any trip downtown.

The Buddy Bears are already such a success that the city of Berlin is using them as ambassadors for the city. One has already been sent to Houston to be enjoyed by its residents. Another one has made its way to Mallorca and will be residing in an art gallery there. A "Buddy Bär Stadtplan" is now available which provides a map of the bears in Berlin and gives the names of each bear and its artist. The map is available in bookstores, at hotels and at tourist information centers.

The Buddy Bears will be around for approximately 12 months. At the end of that time most of the bears will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to children's charities in Berlin. While the bears are around, make sure to take the opportunity to see them. There are a number of bears all along the Kurfürstendamm and Unter den Linden which are easy to find. So simply go downtown or go to www.buddy-baer.com to find out more.

By Daniel Schmierer, Editor

 
 

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Eine Initiative von Eva und Dr. Klaus Herlitz

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