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A Bear of Her Own

Student Kayla DaCosta contributes to the campus’ public artworks

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It’s fair to say that it would be jarring to find a bear sitting in a garage. It would be even more surprising if that bear resembled a beautiful sunset, boasting bright orange, yellow and salmon hues across its body.

But that’s exactly the surprise that greeted Kayla DaCosta’s neighbors in Fairhaven this summer, as she worked on designing and painting the newest bear statue to grace the campus of Bridgewater State University.

Kayla was selected for the project by Jay Block, associate director of collections and exhibitions.

She was excited to add to the collection of painted mascots that began appearing last year across the university. Those statues were designed by artists out of Boston’s Street Theory gallery. Kayla’s is the first student-created bear.

“It’s super rewarding to see my work on such a large scale and to see it on my college campus,” said Kayla, who worked on the project over the summer.

Block organized the project with the mission to bring art to Bridgewater that you wouldn’t normally see.

Kayla, who is studying fine arts with a concentration in painting, used acrylic and spray paint to overlay a bold white intricate design on top of her bear’s sherbet-colored body.

“The pattern started as an intuitive sketch when I was young, and I liked using the tropical colors because I think it looks delicious,” she said.

The student-artist is excited to hear what the BSU community thinks of her creation.

“I am looking forward to hearing people’s comments and criticisms,” Kayla said.

She credits BSU for supporting her as she studies to become an art professor and for providing her with opportunities, like the bear statue, a work of art that will remain on campus long after she has graduated.

“There is a family feel here, a lot of it has to do with the smaller class sizes – there is a personal touch,” Kayla said. “Working on this project in particular has opened my eyes to different opportunities in the future.”

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United States