Sculptor of Denver’s ‘Big Blue Bear’ dies unexpectedly

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'I See What You Mean' - Photo credit: Denver Arts and Venues

DENVER — Lawrence Argent, the sculptor of the famous Big Blue Bear at the Colorado Convention Center, died unexpectedly on Wednesday, October 4.

The Douglas County Coroner’s Office is investigating the cause and manner of Argent’s death, according to the Denver Post.

“Lawrence’s ‘I See What You Mean,’ aka the Blue Bear, has become synonymous with our city and the centerpiece of our public art collection,” Denver Arts and Venues wrote on its Twitter account Friday.

Lawrence Argent. Photo: Denver Arts and Venues Twitter account

Argent is a world-renowned artist who was born in Essex, England in 1957.

His famous fiberglass and steel alloy Blue Bear stands three stories tall and peers through the glass just outside the entrance to the Colorado Convention Center near 14th and Stout streets.

He installed it in 2005.

Visit Denver asked him how it felt to be the creator of artwork that became an icon for the city of Denver. “Who would’ve thought?” he said. “It’s interesting – it doesn’t happen all the time, that’s for sure. Before it was installed, I’d tell people that I was working on a 40-foot blue bear for the Colorado Convention Center, and they’d look at me and say ‘What – are you working for Disney now?’ But once it was up they’d say ‘Whoa, it’s amazing.’ To me, it’s kind of like the bear needs the building, and the building needs the bear.”

Argent had close ties to the University of Denver. The school released a statement Friday:

“The University of Denver is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lawrence Argent. For nearly 25 years he was an award-winning artist and faculty member in the School of Art and Art History. He was a beloved mentor to countless students and a respected colleague. His public art—installed on DU’s campus and on sites around the world—will have an impact for many years to come.”