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New Bronze Sculpture Unveiled on Sculpture Trail

August 26, 2021


On Friday, Aug 20, 2021, Museum staff unveiled a new sculpture on the outdoor Sculpture Trail. Churchill, is a life-size bronze sculpture of a polar bear, by Wyoming sculptor, Margery Torrey. In a short ceremony, Museum Trustee Dick Beck, announced its dedication in honor of Bill, Joffa, and Kavar Kerr. The Kerrs are the founders of the National Museum of Wildlife Art.  

Dick Beck, Val Beck, and Margery Torrey with Churchill

In 1997, Dick and his wife Val made their first of many trips to Churchill, Manitoba to photograph polar bears in their natural habitat. When they moved to Jackson full-time in 2003, they commissioned the work based on one of those photographs. Until this year, Churchill resided in their back yard against the backdrop of the Grand Teton.

According to Dick, “We had always planned that Churchill would one day be a part of our legacy gift to the Museum. We decided to accelerate the timing for that to happen so that we could enjoy knowing that community members and visitors enjoy him, too.”

The Becks learned about Margery through friends and after seeing samples of her work. They arranged for her to spend time “sketch” sculpting live polar bears behind the scenes at the San Diego Zoo. Margery also visited the Natural History Museum in Denver to study polar bear skulls. She even attended a symposium with the top polar bear researchers in the world prior to sculpting the piece. 

“We are so delighted with the results. Her interpretation of our photo met every expectation,” Dick said. 

The Museum thanks the Becks for their generous gift and encourages visitors to come and see this life-size polar bear in person.

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