The Berlin Bear is one of an assortment of statues that look randomly out of place in Hemisfair Park. Its stern face and outstretched arms make it look as though it’s confused about whether it wants to punch you or hug you.
Made by artist Guss W. Fussel, this bronze sculpture of a bear—the heraldic symbol of the city of Berlin—was a gift from West Berlin to San Antonio for the 1968 World’s Fair, HemisFair ‘68. It was originally exhibited along with over 100 other pieces of art from 30 nations.
The bear briefly went into “hibernation” at an offsite location while roadwork and renovations were occurring near its home turf. Today, the Berlin Bear is located in front of the historic Halff House in the park. This statue is listed in the Smithsonian Art Inventory of sculptures along with more than 400,000 other works of public art.