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Famed Sculptor's Contemporary Jesus

She calls it, "The Christ of Compassion." The stunning statue is a contemporary version of Jesus. It is the latest dramatic work by Bakersfield's most renowned sculptor, Betty Younger. Now in her 70's, the 120-pound artist took on a huge, 1,200 pound pipe made of thick, hard steel to create her latest masterpiece.
"The moment I saw that pipe," she says, "I could see what it was meant to be; Jesus with his arms open, children gathered around him, and an open space in the middle where anyone can step up into his embrace."
With that vision to guide her and blowtorch in hand, Betty cut, welded, polished, and painted the metal figure through two broiling summers and two shivery winters in her outdoor workshop at her beloved horse ranch, Banner Farms, on Fairfax Road.
Her husband, Milt, a prominent Bakersfield attorney, says, "There she was, at her age, out there every day in the heat and the dust and the cold working away with sparks flying everywhere to bring this project to reality."
Why did she do it?
"I've come to believe I am on this earth to do special things for others," Betty says. "My inspiration for this project is the wonderful work done every day at the Bakersfield Rescue Mission to serve the homeless and the hurting in our city, just as Jesus would do if he were here today."
How close is Betty's statue to the real Jesus?
Experts who have examined the miraculous imprint of the body of Jesus on his burial cloth, known as "The Shroud of Turin," say Jesus was 5'll," 185 pounds, of athletic build. Without knowing those facts, Betty selected one of her welders, Mike Jones, as her model, who just happens to be 5'11," 185 pounds, of athletic build.
The statue will soon be the centerpiece of the Mission's new campus once construction is finished on the plaza where it will be placed. Betty is donating her artist's fee of $20,000, but she still needs just under $50,000 to cover her expenses, pay her workers, and pay the installation costs at the Mission. To support this project or learn more, contact Betty Younger directly at 805-0706. - by Don Clark

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