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Bear mania in Harlan


Beware of bears in Harlan County.

Six of them are being placed in strategic places around the county. But don’t worry — the painted animals should be easy to spot.

Artists and students are creating bear statutes, which will be painted before being placed around the community.

The Cumberland Tourist and Convention Commission Director Tracey Bailey told the Harlan Daily Enterprise that the project is able to go forward because of a $ 10,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The bears will represent aspects of life in the southeastern Kentucky community. One will be designed like a quilt, another will be painted with a coal theme and another will have shapes of the different communities in Harlan County.

“We’ll have a traditional black bear, with teeth and eyes painted, along with one where students at Cumberland Elementary School will place their handprints on,” said high school art teacher Rhonda Robinson.

Robinson’s advanced art portfolio students are designing and painting the bear that will highlight something in each Harlan County community.

Robinson said principal Bob Howard, who is also an artist, will paint the coal-themed bear.

The Poor Fork Arts and Crafts Guild will also be participating in the project by painting a patriotic bear.

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