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The Chase Chair in English and the Bear Tribute Sculpture

Thanks to the dedication of a group of alumni and friends called "The League of Bears," Berkshire welcomed its first outdoor, bronze bear sculpture in honor of legendary faculty member Art Chase and is raising support for The Arthur C. Chase Endowed Chair in English.

The Chase Chair will help address one of Berkshire's most pressing needs to build endowment for the campus community, enabling the School to honor faculty members and recruit and retain educators who follow in the footsteps of Art Chase. Our goal is to raise $2 million for the combined Chase Chair and Bear Tribute Sculpture. With your gift, you will honor Art Chase and help direct essential resources to Berkshire's faculty. 

Read on to learn more about the Chase Chair and Bear and to join in the effort.

The Story & The Video

In partnership with a group of dedicated alumni called "The League of Bears," we are excited to announce plans to fund The Arthur C. Chase Endowed Chair in English in conjunction with the Bear Sculpture in honor of Art Chase.

Arthur C. Chase began his 34-year career at Berkshire School under Headmaster Seaver S. Buck. He taught English and Latin. He was nicknamed “The Bear” for his strength, huge hands, and love of the deep woods surrounding the school and the Mountain. Enjoy the below video that outlines the project.


Watch the extended version of the video here.

Dedication

On Saturday, June 8 of Reunion Weekend, Berkshire dedicated the Bear Tribute Sculpture in honor of legendary faculty member Arthur C. Chase. Members of the Chase family joined with alumni, faculty, and friends in the celebration. Sculpted by Mark Richardson '73 and championed by alumni in the League of Bears (Kevin Bruemmer '71, League of Bears Chair Bill Drake '73, Jeff Follert '73, Ken Gordon '73, Robin McGraw '70, Rex Morgan '73, Board of Trustees Chair Chip Perkins '73, Mark Richardson '73, Jerry Weil '73, and Alec Wyeth '73), the bronze sculpture stands on campus as an enduring symbol of the Berkshire spirit. 

Listen to Art Chase describe his arrival to Berkshire School in the fall of 1938.

Installation

The Bear Tribute Sculpture in honor of Arthur C. Chase was installed on campus Tuesday, May 28, 2019. You can watch a time-lapse video of the installation below:

Foundry Visits

On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, artist Mark Richardson '73, League of Bears Chair Bill Drake '73, Art Department Chair Paul Banevicius, and art students from Berkshire School gathered at Workshop Art Fabrication, a foundry located in Kingston, NY, as the sculpture took shape.

Group photo (Left to right): Ken Gordon '73, Vanessa Hoheb, Dom Sayler (art teacher), Bill Drake '73, Mark Richardson '73 (artist), Emma Dreher '19, Alex Barnosky '19, Will Esposito '22, Shun Iwata '20, Paul Banevicius (art teacher), Jackson Chapin '20, and Will Goldthwaite '22

On Thursday, April 25, 2019, artist Mark Richardson '73, League of Bears Chair Bill Drake '73, and Kevin Bruemmer '71 visited the progress of the Bear Tribute Sculpture at the Workshop Art Fabrication in Kingston, NY.

The sculpture is in the final welding process (temporary gap in forehead provides access to welding the inside of the neck) and then, finishing is underway. The Bear is coming to life and, as Drake shares, "[It's] looking beautiful and heroic!" 

The unveiling of the Bear Tribute Sculpture honoring Art Chase will take place on Saturday, June 8 at 10:00 a.m. during Reunion Weekend. 

Photo (Left to right): Kevin Bruemmer '71, Mark Richardson '73, and Bill Drake '73 
Photos: Courtesy of Bill Drake

"My cameras and tripod in hand, I roamed the Mountain and shot scores of photos of Glenny Brook. This helped me gain entry into Rhode Island School of Design.

"Now at the other end of my career, I am deeply honored to be the artist on this enduring symbol for the School. The sculpture embodies the spirit of all Berkshire Bears who came before, those here now, and those to come.”
—Mark Richardson ’73, Sculptor

Groundbreaking Ceremony

The Arthur C. Chase Endowed Chair in English: Berkshire's Fourth Endowed Faculty Chair

The Arthur C. Chase Endowed Chair in English recognizes faculty for excellence in teaching the disciplines of English composition, literature, poetry, foreign languages, or journalism.

Awarded to one member of the faculty every five years, the chair symbolizes and celebrates the understated spirit and strength of character that Art Chase brought to Berkshire through his service as a teacher, poet, woodsman, trail squad leader, and founder of the Sugar Shack.

 

 

The Bear: Berkshire's First Outdoor Bronze Sculpture

The initiative also supported the creation and installation of a bronze sculpture of Berkshire's mascot, the black bear. Created by Mark Richardson '73, the sculpture honors the spirit of Berkshire's original "Bear" Arthur C. Chase.

Dedicated on June 8, 2019, the Bear Tribute Sculpture will inspire generations of Berkshire students by reminding them of the connection between the campus and its natural mountain surroundings.

THE LEAGUE OF BEARS

The League of Bears is committed to promoting and supporting the Arthur C. Chase Endowed Chair in English and the Bear Tribute Sculpture.

Bill Drake ’73, Chair
_____________________

Christopher Ames '73
Davis Anderson '68
Anonymous
Cary Barnett ’76
Al Bredenfoerder (In Memoriam)
Lin Bredenfoerder  
Murray Bodine ’74
Dave and Pat Brooks 
Kevin Bruemmer ’71
Lyman Bullard, Jr. ’73
Harold Clayton '73 (In Memoriam)
K.C. Clow '69
Alice Cole '76 (In memory of Web Walker '73)
William Cushman '71
Peter Dayton ’73
Tom Dixon
Peter Donahue ’72
Christopher Drake ’06
Jeffrey Drake ’74
Amanda Ekster '97
Jeff Follert ’73
Ken Gordon ’73
Chris Groves ’73
Lou Haggerty ’73
Woody Hancock ’67
William Hand '63
Bob Haywood '69
Lucia Hickey
Doug Hitchcock ’73
Carole King '72
Frederick King '70
Jeri Langham '61

Allison Letourneau ’07
Pete Marechal '75
Robin McGraw ’70
Seamus McKeon '69
Rex Morgan ’73
Mac Odell '57
Chip Perkins ’73
Kenneth Piel '67
Annie Chase Redman
Mark Richardson ’73
Peter Richardson '61
David Ring ’73
Michele Robins '73
Ben Rosin '58
Hilary Russell
Tim Schieffelin ’73
Sing-Si Schwartz ’73 (In Memoriam)
John Shaker ’71
Bruce Shields '57
James Simpson '02
Ernest Stagg '57
Marianne Stein
Web Walker III ’73
John Watkins '73
John Weeks '69
Ben Weil ’06
Jerry Weil ’73
Harrison Weisner '75 (In tribute to the 3-W Trail)
Cliff White '56
Alec Wyeth '73
Tom and Susan Young
Stephen Zuckerman '61

LEARN MORE

During the fall of 1972, then-Headmaster Robert Minnerly, encouraged by a group of '73 senior students, named the school year the “Year of the Bear” to honor Art Chase’s retirement. Mr. Minnerly also announced Berkshire’s decision to change the school mascot from the wildcat to the black bear as a tribute to the legacy of Art Chase.

A member of the Class of 1973, sculptor Mark Richardson was the 1973 Berkshire Art Award winner. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and has spent his career as a visual artist and designer. Mark’s design work has been recognized both nationally and internationally. His artworks are in many private collections.

Mark’s vision for the bronze bear sculpture is inspired by Art Chase and his embrace of the wilds of the Berkshires. The site will also showcase an inscription by Art Chase and include the names of leadership donors.

The aesthetic objective of the posture and expression of the sculpture is to create a bear that will make eye contact with the visitors, reaching out with his paw in a welcoming gesture. The sculpture will communicate power and strength, peace and gentleness. The bear greets you, and invites you to experience his natural world. The site is designed to give the feeling that the bear is emerging from the woods. It is set back just enough to offer the visitor a sense of discovery, and the rock outcropping and plantings add to the authenticity of the natural environment and provide a special place on campus where visitors can contemplate a majestic mascot and the “perilous frontiers deep within” and find meaning in the Chase inscription’s “ultimatum.”


The dedication of the 1973 yearbook to Arthur C. Chase



Full scale mock-up of the bear tribute sculpture



Site Inscription

Excerpt from STEAM from the SAP HOUSE
by Arthur C. Chase

We see frontiers pushed back to ends of space—
No oceans left to cross, no peaks to scale,
No undiscovered lands between the poles.
Our perilous frontiers are deep within,
Frontiers of heart and mind will test and try
New pioneers. The needs of young, of old,
Of lonely, poor and weak challenge the heart
As did the “hideous, howling wilderness.”
No room for hate or hurt, this frontier shouts
An ultimatum to the years ahead.

Listen to Art Chase describe his arrival to Berkshire School in the fall of 1938.