The work of a contemporary artist featured in October’s Orson Welles Creative Arts Festival has been so well-received his gallery exhibit has been extended.
Tashi Norbu, a world-renowned Tibetan painter and sculptor, was one of the featured artists in a gallery exhibit which, along with films, theater performances, lectures and a Halloween costume ball, comprised this year’s festival.
Several of Norbu’s pieces were on display at the Old Courthouse Arts Center throughout the month of October, but the high point of his exhibition was the on-stage creation of a new piece of art. This performance fittingly took place on the Woodstock Opera House’s Orson Welles stage and included the music of Mozart performed by a quartet of musicians from the Midwest Mozart Festival.
Beyond local attendees, 1,000 people watched the simultaneous live broadcast online, and more than 100,000 people viewed a time-lapsed version on social media in the week that followed.
“It’s the world we live in now,” said Jack Bechaud, social media manager for the event. “Tashi has many followers on social media, and this was a great opportunity to spread the word about our Welles festivities across the globe.”
The physical result of the performance is an 8-foot-by-16-foot original painting which was added to Norbu’s exhibit at the Old Courthouse Arts Center. The exhibit has been extended through the holidays due to popular demand.
This year’s Orson Welles Creative Arts Festival, a version of which has been held for the past four years, is sponsored by Other World Computing and organized by the nonprofit Woodstock Celebrates. It has gone beyond Welles, who spent his boyhood in Woodstock and later considered it home, to encompass contemporary creative offerings such as the work of Norbu.
“We’ve redesigned this festival to be annual and not just about Orson Welles, but also about contemporary art in any medium. To mix painting with music on the same performing arts stage where Welles made his professional debut was very ﬁtting,” said festival co-chair Gregory Gantner.
Meanwhile, Norbu is taking Chicagoland by storm. His exhibit and performance in Woodstock might be considered an opening act to an even larger and more prominent display. His 15-foot tall statue, Urban Buddha, constructed from 3,500 pounds of reclaimed wood at the ReUse Depot in Maywood, was recently installed at Grant Park in downtown Chicago. The official dedication of the statue will take place in the spring, and it will be displayed prominently throughout the summer tourist season.
The special exhibit of Norbu’s paintings will carry on through Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017, at the Old Courthouse Arts Center, 101 N. Johnson St. It is free and open to the public.