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Artist portrays river personalities in bears for new rooftop sculpture

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Have you seen a group of bears rafting in Jackson? You can spot these bears on Broadway on the roof of Dave Hansen Whitewater. The sculpture was created by Jonathan LaBenne, who many call "Jonathan the Bear Man" because of his many bear sculptures at the Lodge at Jackson Hole, Snake River Lodge and Spa, and many other places around town. "This project with Dave Hansen Whitewater just really excited me," said LaBenne. "Bears river rafting... I just really got into that." He said that the sculpture represents the different personalities and the joy of being on the river. LaBenne worked closely with the team at Dave Hansen Whitewater to create the ideas for the different personalities. "Putting our heads together, we just had more fun than a person ought to have making this thing," said LaBenne. While many of his pieces are done in wood, this sculpture in made of a special laminate, with fiberglass layers and a thick resin on top. This makes the sculpture lighter weight for roof display and also makes it withstand the elements better. "It is like building a bear from the ground up," said LaBenne. "You are doing the skeletal figure, then the muscle, then the skin and the fur layers." He has been working on this project for about three months. "It is something that we really enjoyed doing," said Bud Chatham from Dave Hansen Whitewater. "It is a culmination. Each bear represents a different characters that we take rafting -- the kids, the scared, the cool guys, the goofy one, etc." "It has been one of the most intriguing and joyful projects that I have been able to do," LaBenne added. *Feature Photo: The new sculpture at Dave Hansen Whitewater. Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news