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The Colorado Convention Center
by Stormy on May 20, 2007

It's a big blue bear, but what is he looking at?

I happened to be coming down 14th Street in downtown Denver and saw a big blue bear looking in the windows of the Colorado Convention Center. What in the world is the bear looking at? Opened in July 1990, the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver has been a destination for many conventions, trade shows and other large scale events. At 1.2 million square feet, this is one of the largest convention centers in the Rocky Mountain Region. The big blue bear is a 40 foot tall, 10,000 pound fiberglass and resin sculpture, a creation of Denver University Professor Lawrence Argent, at a cost of $400,000. The statue was installed in 2005 after the completion of the Convention Center's expansion. It seems that the bear's goal is to generate interest and attention in the Convention Center and its role in the Denver community and publicists claim that a curious 40 foot bear will beacon tourists to come inside, much as the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Opponents of the visionary artwork claim that the big blue abstract peeping tom is an eye sore not representative of Denver's culture or heritage and a tremendous waste of taxpayer money, but supporters argue that in time the bear will become a trademark of the city, much as the controversial 50 foot Picasso statue unveiled in Chicago in 1967. Out of curiosity I pressed my nose up against the glass and looked in. The large empty lobby did not beacon for me to come in. Grand columns rose over the tile floors and supported the ceiling over a second level balcony that extended to overlook the lobby. Nothing seemed particularly marvelous to me, but then again, I'm only a foot tall when I sit up. Maybe 18 inches if I really stretch on my hind legs. I could not see anything up on the balcony, but perhaps the 40 foot bear noted something of interest up there.

Pedestrians crossing Stout Street will see a big blue bear trying to break into the Colorado Convention Center.
(taken by Max on May 20, 2007)
A concept of Denver University Professor Lawrence Argent, the towering blue bear can be intimidating.
(taken by Max on May 20, 2007)
Controversial or not, the bear is at the Colorado Convention Center to stay. Stop by and take a look. A little controversy goes well with art.
(taken by Max on May 20, 2007)

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