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Podlasie bears a new tourist attraction? Competition for bears in Bialystok

24 of February '21

Picturesque Podlasie and the capital of the province - Bialystok. What do you associate it with? The theater? The wild forests surrounding it? Bison? Or maybe bears after all? A competition for bears to decorate the city is underway. Are teddy bears a good idea for small architecture?

Thecompetition announced by the City Council is for the development of a design concept for small architecture objects: 8 sculptural forms - figurines of Teddy Bears, marking a new tourist route and to appear in public spaces of Bialystok. You can send your ideas until April 1.

on the trail of the bears

The first edition of the competition held in 2019 was unresolved, so now a new competition for the design concept of the figurines has been announced, reports Agnieszka Błachowska. The WidziMisie figurines will mark the new city tourist route "Białystok WidziMisie". This is an idea submitted to the Civic Budget 2018, for which more than 630 residents voted. According to the project, the sculptures are to appear in distinctive places in the city, as well as those that are less well-known, but not accidental - chosen for their historical or cultural context, Agnieszka Błachowska of the press office at the magistrate's office enumerates in Gazeta Wyborcza.
The bears will be placed, among others, on Blues Avenue - the Bluesman bear would be placed there, on Ludwik Zamenhofa Street - the Ursido bear, on Adama Mickiewicza Street - the Hetman bear, in the area of the Theater Academy - the Actor bear and on NZS Square - the Student bear. The WidziMiś figurines are to be another attraction of Bialystok.

second approach

This is the second approach to the implementation of this project conceived and chosen by the residents themselves. According to the "research" conducted by the city, in which 630 people took part, teddy bears are precisely the most desired form of decorating urban spaces.

Is polling the tastes of a few hundred people the best form of decision-making in a case like choosing the form of sculptures? And what do urban architects think? The pastel colors that once covered blocks of flats wholesale are still pleasing to the eye and cheerful in certain circles, especially among residents who remember the gray of communist Poland. And yet no architect asks for the opinion of the general public anymore when selecting the colors of contemporary developments.


Awareness of the aesthetics of public space in Polish local governments is beginning to grow, and increasingly, the streets of Polish cities have something to boast about. It's worth taking a look at small architecture, which should first and foremost be for the people, which doesn't necessarily mean invented by them. Are the figures-sculptures - Widzimisie, which by their very name bring to mind more kindergarten times than they are associated with the DNA of the city - a good solution for non-utilitarian small architecture and have a chance to become a "tourist attraction"?

like brocław dwarves

Many doubts were also raised before their creation by Wroclaw's dwarves, which have passed into the classics of the small architecture genre, creating a kind of historical narrative. Today you can visit the city along their route, they appear in tourist guides and have even lived to see their own map. The tradition of thinking about small architecture as an art form in public space is long in Poland - it dates back to the post-war years. Unfortunately, it remains so niche that discussion of it often reaches only closed circles of experts.

But perhaps this questionable competition will attract the attention of artists and designers who will create a completely new piece of urban fabric?

Competition entries can be submitted until April 1, 2021, at 3 pm, at the Promotion and Tourism Department of the municipal office at 1 Slonimskaya St. The competition is aimed at certified sculptors, visual artists, architects and art conservators, as well as art studios and companies involved in designing small architecture objects. The "Białystok WidziMisie" project has been allocated 85 thousand zlotys.

Will the unprecedented species of Podlasie bears become part of the landscape and the bears will become famous in Bialystok like the dwarves of Wroclaw?

The vote has already been cast