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Build Your Own Buddha Sculpture at Weekend Workshop

By Patty Wetli | March 29, 2013 6:31am

ALBANY PARK — Buddha head sculptures have captured the imagination of Chicagoans city-wide as part of the "Ten Thousand Ripples" art project, and now you can take a mini version home with you — legally.

No need to swipe a Buddha off its 300-pound concrete base. Northeastern Illinois University, at Bryn Mawr and St. Louis avenues, is hosting a build-your-own Buddha workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the Fine Arts Building.

Drop by at any point during the workshop and find all the materials needed to create your own mini-Buddha, which takes roughly an hour, or mold some other symbol of peace out of clay. People are free to take their sculptures home or leave them as part of NEIU's gallery exhibit.

The campus is home to a pair of the full-scale Buddhas dispersed throughout Albany Park. Mark McKernin, professor and chairman of the university's art department, played an instrumental role in developing the installation process for the sculptures, which were conceived of by artist Indira Johnson as a means of sparking conversations about peace.

Albany Park, Rogers Park, Uptown and Pilsen are among the 10 neighborhoods taking part in "Ten Thousand Ripples." The NEIU art workshop is an extension of the programming Johnson asked participating neighborhoods to develop around the Buddhas.