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Artist Brad Noble on June 21 works on a new mural depicting ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.
SBJ photo by Geoff Pickle
Artist Brad Noble on June 21 works on a new mural depicting ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu.

Blog: Philosophy makes a statement at South and Walnut

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“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

That quote, thought to be credited to ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, now adorns a building at the corner of South Avenue and Walnut Street in downtown Springfield. It’s painted alongside a new mural of Lao Tzu, the so-called father of the spiritual concept called Taoism, as he rides an ox. A yin-yang symbol, representing dualism in Chinese philosophy, is painted behind his head.

The two-story mural, located at 328 South Ave., certainly commands a look. It’s grandiose in scale, and it’s an untraditional painting for a city that also houses the headquarters for the Assemblies of God. Perhaps Taoism, which, in part, focuses on humility, would be a good thought experiment for some folks visiting downtown Springfield. It’s also a nice balance for the religious protestors shouting nearby at bargoers.

The mural was painted by artist Brad Noble, who according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting, splits his time between the Queen City, London and Barcelona. Given his talent and that his time appears to be in short supply, a mural from Noble at a prominent street corner is a good get for Springfield. Attempts to reach Noble for comment were unsuccessful by deadline.

Noble’s mural replaces another by fellow Springfield artist Andrea Ehrhardt, who in April recreated her painting across the street on the side of Mediterranean restaurant Riad. It’s nice to see the the popular downtown intersection come alive with art.

The owner, homebuilder Wolf Residential LLC, also operates an office in the building, which has undergone renovations in recent months. People have either loved or hated the black-painted bricks, wooden arches and gold trimmings. There’s not much middle ground there.

Regardless, it’s created a statement, certainly now with the mural in place.

And in the center of culture for the city, diverse beliefs and building designs, for that matter, are welcome. As Lao Tzu’s quote says, the present is the best place to be in downtown Springfield.


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