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The Grant Park Conservancy, The Chicago Park District and Advisory Council bring "Urban Buddha&

Photos by Bob O'Neill for @gpconserv

David Matthews for DNA Info Chicago reports:

"Urban Buddha" in Grant Park

DOWNTOWN — The latest sculpture in Grant Park is "Urban Buddha," a 15-foot-tall effigy meant to send a message about global deforestation.

The sculpture was installed Tuesday morning at the Grant Park Skate Park near Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road. Designed by Tibetan artist Tashi Norbu, the piece is comprised of about 3,500 pounds of reclaimed wood.

Norbu said his artwork tries to send a message about the rampant deforestation in his homeland and throughout the world. "Urban Buddha" is his first piece in the United States.

"I'm in the world to talk about my country, what's happening," he said.

Park officials hope the sculpture will draw visitors to the south end of the park this winter, when the skate park is closed. The new Buddha is painted in vibrant green and orange hues, and is surrounded by a circle of rocks guests can use for seats. The sculpture is inscribed with Buddhist mantras translated to mean "be the bee, not the flower," and other things.

Photo by @TheOriginalLukeWarm

"It's not real obvious, you have to look at it," Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, said Tuesday. "You want a piece people will talk about, get interested in, and learn more about. It fits well here."

O'Neill said the sculpture cost about $20,000, with Norbu, consulting firm North Branch Management, and Maywood-based ReUse Depot — which supplied the wood — paying for most of it. The Chicago Park District contributed about $2,500, O'Neill said.

The sculpture not only practices what it preaches, but is a social work "in the sense of peace, benevolent acts and expanding cultural awareness through art," Michael Dimitroff, manager of art initiatives at the park district, said in an e-mail.

Claire Hicking, a tourist from London, was intrigued by the sculpture while visiting the park Tuesday morning.

"Not the colors I would expect of a Buddha, but I like the concept," she said. "It stands out."

Photo by @DLHerrin3

Photo by Bob O'Neill

Photo by Bob O'Neill

Photo by Bob O'Neill

To see more photos from David L Matthews of DNA Info click here.

#BobONeill #grantpark #GrantParkSkatePark #PublicParks #GrantParkConservancy

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