northland bearMarshall Fredericks’ famed The Boy and Bear sculpture will be relocated from the City’s DPS Yard located at 25501 Clara Lane to the Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road, on Friday, May 6 beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Crews will load and secure the iconic sculpture to begin the four mile relocation process at approximately 9:30 a.m. Once the sculpture arrives at its new home at the Southfield Public Library, it will be lifted by crane and forklift through a window that will be removed for permanent placement in the tower lobby of the Library.

The Southfield Public Arts Commission will host a VIP unveiling reception of Marshall Fredericks’ famed The Boy and Bear sculpture for the ‘Free the Bear’ fundraising campaign donors on May 19 at 6 p.m. at the Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road. A public reception will take place on May 23 at 6 p.m.

The Southfield Public Arts Commission launched the ‘Free the Bear’ development campaign to raise funds for the recently acquired art from the former Northland Center. The campaign includes both a public crowd funding component as well as corporate underwriting. Tickets for the VIP reception are available for a $50 donation per person to the ‘Free the Bear’ campaign until Monday, May 16. To donate, please send cash donations or checks (made payable to): City of Southfield, c/o Mayor’s Office, 26000 Evergreen Road, P.O. Box 2055, Southfield, MI 48037-2055; or visit http://www.gofundme.com/freethebear. Please indicate ‘Free the Bear’ on memo line for checks. No tickets will be available at the door. The Southfield Public Library Leon Miller Trust Fund will match all donations raised up to $300,000.

The VIP reception will include a special unveiling of the iconic The Boy and Bear sculpture as well as live music and hors d’oeuvres. The Southfield Public Arts Commission has identified a permanent home for The Boy and Bear sculpture at the Southfield Public Library. The Library receives thousands of visitors per week, and Marshall Fredericks would have been pleased to know his work will continue reaching so many people each day. This campaign to raise funds creates a final resting place for this great sculpture. Moreover, every contribution will help to establish a permanent fund for youth art programming, support local artists, and expand cultural opportunities in the city of Southfield.

The city of Southfield purchased the public art that was located at Northland Center for $500,000 in April 2015 as a loan from the City that will be recouped by the fundraising campaign. Of this amount, $300,000 was provided by the Southfield Public Library and the Friends of the Library. The acquisition included the iconic The Boy and Bear sculpture by the late Marshall Fredericks that had been on display at Northland since the mall’s opening in 1954. Fredericks was one of six artists commissioned by J.L. Hudson to design the sculpture for Northland Center in Southfield, Michigan. At the time it opened in 1954, Northland was the country’s largest shopping center as well as the first regional shopping center. The Boy and Bear sculpture was carved in limestone and the boy is cast in bronze and is gold-plated.

The Southfield Public Arts Commission was established in 2015 to advise the City Council on matters affecting public art in the city. The goal of this commission is to create a stimulating environment that reflects and enhances the City’s heritage, diversity, and character through public artworks integrated in the architecture, infrastructure, and landscape.

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