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'Urban Buddha' Sculpture Moves From Grant Park To Bridgeport Arts Center

By Joe Ward | October 10, 2017 5:06am
 The Urban Buddha has moved to Bridgeport from Grant Park.
Urban Buddha In Bridgeport
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BRIDGEPORT — One of Grant Park's most striking sculptures now has a familiar home at the Bridgeport Arts Center.

The 15-foot-tall "Urban Buddha" was on Friday moved to the arts center, 1200 W. 35th St., after spending the last year in southern end of Grant Park. Made by Tibetan artist Tashi Norbu, the wooden sculpture is the largest the center's Sculpture Garden Gallery has ever hosted, said Sandy Clous, director of events and marketing for the Bridgeport Arts Center. 

Situated prominently on Racine Avenue, the sculpture is already turning heads in Bridgeport, Clous said. Made with 3,500 pounds of reclaimed wood painted red and green, the piece makes a statement about deforestation and is inscribed with Buddhist mantras translated to mean, among other things, "be the bee, not the flower."

"Traffic jams were happening from drivers passing by Racine Avenue trying to take in the massive artwork," she said.

The Urban Buddha being moved to the Bridgeport Arts Center. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]

While the sculpture comes from Grant Park, it was actually originally workshopped at the arts center, where Norbu was a resident artist, Clous said. Woodworker Hal Link, who works out of the center, helped Norbu with a model of the buddha sculpture.

Bridgeport Arts Center officials saw the sculpture in Grant Park and initially did not know of its origins at the center. After its stay at the Downtown park was up, Norbu agreed to bring the sculpture to Bridgeport, Clous said.

"It truly came full circle," Clous said. "We are happy that this striking sculpture found its way back to Bridgeport."

The sculpture is on display indefinitely in the sculpture garden on the east side of the arts center.

The Urban Buddha sculpture has moved to the Bridgeport Arts Center. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]

The Urban Buddha sculpture has moved to the Bridgeport Arts Center. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]