Manitou Springs Arts Council (MSAC) and Manitou Springs Creative District (MSCD) announced today that “Koyuk,” a beloved stone sculpture by Lake George artist John Kessler, is returning to the community as part of the permanent public art collection.

“When the Arts Council installed ‘Koyuk’ as part of their ‘Art on the Avenue’ program, the public fell in love with this gentle presence,” said Creative District interim recovery director/executive director Becca Sickbert. “We’re delighted to welcome back the bear to Manitou Avenue this week!”

This most recent MSAC acquisition was funded by generous donations from Todd and Kaki Crystal and Ben Kuckel. The bear returns to a prominent location at the western side of the city to welcome people to Manitou Springs as soon as this Friday, June 12.

“I think there is an element of fate involved with Koyuk’s return to Manitou.  This sculpture becomes the western counterpart–a gateway guardian–to Kessler’s eagle sculpture on the eastern side of the city.” said MSAC president De Lane Bredvik. “It’s especially appropriate that this is ‘artwork of wildlife’ since legendary local artist, Rockey, had said that it would be wonderful to see more of that theme along the Avenue.”

Kessler is known for his dedication to naturalistic sculptural work in volcanic glass, otherwise known as expanded obsidian. “Koyuk” is over five feet long, almost four feet tall, and weighs approximately 1000 lbs. The work of art is named for the fishing community of Koyuk, Alaska.