A few Brookhaven College students made the most of their final art project this week inspired by a campus full of fallen leaves. They created Franklin the bear, who is the size of a cub, and who could be seen standing outside of the L Building on the steps of the Commons Courtyard overlooking the fountain. Now the photos of the bear are being shared on social media accompanied by puns like "Unbearleafable," which we're not mad at.
Brookhaven art students Kimberly Diaz, Emily Soriano and Lily Edwards were assigned a project to install a conceptual or non-conceptual piece somewhere around Brookhaven. Brookhaven’s mascot is a bear, but Edwards said the idea to create Franklin sprung from deeper meaning.
“Personally, the environment or natural life tends to be a subject that I like to work from,” Edwards says. “I have heard that food is becoming more difficult for the bears to find, but another reason is that they are the school mascot.”
Edwards and Soriano said their teacher recommended constructing a strong base for Franklin by using wood and cardboard, so they shaped the body and legs of the bear with a box. “From there we formed the rounded edges by scoring the cardboard,” Edwards says of the project. “And [we] wrapped newsprint paper around that to make the shape of the bear.”
With the final week of the fall semester coming to a close, Soriano says they were really pressed for time to complete Franklin. “We’re honestly used to our professor getting on to us and not finishing on time, so I was really trying to make sure we finish this time,” Soriano says. “[Our teacher] said she was very proud so I hope [we get] an A-plus.”
Franklin’s fur is made of golden-brown leaves, which help bring him to life. Even his little tail has a leaf positioned just where a real baby cub’s tail would sit. Edwards says, “[The leaves] were pretty much our primary material, especially since they were a good color and pretty much an infinite supply.”
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Brookhaven College received recognition for the second time from Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program that honors colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees on campus and for their dedication to conservation.
Soriano said they haven’t decided yet on whether they should leave Franklin at school or take him home and domesticate him.
“A lot of people wanted to see if there was any way we could keep it on campus for a while,” Soriano says of the sculpture. “But since I do have a porch, we thought [Franklin] would be better there.”