San Jose

‘Mamma Penny Bear' Sculpture in Downtown San Jose Made With Over 200,000 Coins

Downtown San Jose has added a new piece of art and it’s one pretty penny - or better yet, pennies. 

“Ursa Mater,” or “Mamma Penny Bear,” is a sculpture of a mother bear and her two cubs and it’s now the city’s most recent art installation located on Paseo de San Antonio next to the Fairmont Hotel. But this sculpture isn’t just made of concrete, the bear's “fur coat” is made with over 200,000 pennies. 

Jennifer Gonzalez/NBC Bay Area
"Ursa Mater" is downtown San Jose's latest art installation made with over 200,000 pennies by Alameda-based artists, Mr and Mrs Ferguson. (March 15, 2018)

Alameda-based artists, Mr and Mrs Ferguson, and a team of 12 volunteers spent about four months layering all the pennies vertically in the concrete. 

“Ursa Mater” first made an appearance at Burning Man in 2017 and is now in San Jose thanks to a partnership between the city and the Burning Man Project. 

The partnership first developed after San Jose’s Director of Cultural Affairs, Kerry Adams Harper, returned from Burning Man and saw an opportunity to re-site art created for the event in downtown San Jose. 

“It is our hope that the community will be inspired by these artworks and human imagination and that they serve as an initiative to experience art, participate in art and also foster one’s creative expression,” said Adams Harper. 

Jennifer Gonzalez/ NBC Bay Area

“Ursa Mater” is the second art installation from Burning Man Project to reside in San Jose, Sonic Runway was the first. 

You can catch this mama bear and her cubs on Paseo de San Antonio in downtown until May.

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