From handmade quilting to Day of the Dead sugar skulls, there are some unique designs underway for a pack of bears set to adorn the streets of downtown Clarks Summit next month.

Ten local artists will use 2½-foot 3D foam bears as their canvas for the Gathering Place’s Bears in the Summit project. The community center plans to display the finished bears in front of downtown locations to coincide with a week of bear-themed activities from July 24 to 30.

Earlier this year, the Gathering Place called on artists to submit design concepts for six downtown Bears. Since then, sponsorships have nearly doubled the amount.

“We were really overwhelmed by the number of submissions we received,” project Director Colleen Carter said. “We’re really thrilled about the breadth of the artists because they reflect the mission of the Gathering Place to be very inclusive.”

The public can expect to see a bear with vibrant splashes of color from Scranton resident and Hazleton Area art teacher Amber Cipriani. She took inspiration from community canvases that many contributed to through her business, Electric City Art Studio.

Meanwhile, Audrey Ross of Ransom Twp. is working on a bear that pays homage to the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead with brightly colored sugar skulls and flowers. Ross, who sells artwork and crafts through her business, Dragonistic, said she’s a huge fan of the holiday’s motif.

“I love being able to put that on a bear and have it be a part of my hometown,” she said.

Honesdale artist Janet Gaglione plans to cover her bear with handmade quilt squares. The executive director of the Wayne County Arts Alliance, Gaglione likes presenting quilts in unexpected places.

Artists can still make their mark on the project by contributing original bear-themed black and white drawings for coloring pages in a free program book. Drawings, as well as advertisements for the book, are due July 6.

Audrey Ross of Ransom Twp. works on her Day of the Dead-themed bear for the Gathering Place’s Bears in the Summit project.


Meanwhile, the project committee is finalizing the schedule for the week, which includes a meet-the-artists event, walking tours to see the bears, a downtown scavenger hunt, a coffee house night and guided walks on the Trolley Trail to learn about bear habitats. The committee is considering a performance of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” among other offerings.

Artist Earl Lehman and the Verve Vertu Art Studio in Dallas are each creating a bear for a silent auction. The proceeds will benefit the studio, which serves people with special needs, and the Gathering Place.

The Gathering Place is encouraging businesses to come up with their own activities and promotions.

“I’m excited to have a community project out there for everyone to enjoy this summer,” Carter said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, and we’ve missed that.”

For information and updates, visit or the Gathering Place Facebook page.