By Sarah Plummer
Beckley and the surrounding area will have the opportunity to take part in a global experience as a “Great Mandala For Peace” is created at Cynthia Bickey Art Gallery on Johnstown Road.
The mandala, an intricate, circular symbol used by Buddhists to reach enlightenment, will be made over two weeks, starting Saturday.
Wongdue Sangpo, a Nepali monk from Thekchan Ling Mon-astery, will create the mandala.
Charles Lowry, director of international students services at Mountain State University, explained that Sangpo has traveled extensively in other countries creating mandalas.
He has been invited to Minnesota State University, but will stop in Beckley and visit his nephew, a student at Mountain State, and create a mandala here.
“It will be a good experience for the international population at MSU and for the community to experience the culture and artwork he will perform,” said Lowry.
Lowry hopes the international population outside the school will also take part in this ceremony.
JoAnn Byron, president of Beckley Art Group, said they jumped at the chance to have this kind of art installation for the community free of charge.
“I have never heard of a mandala being created in West Virginia. We are thrilled to death to have him here and to get people into the gallery,” she said.
The opening ceremony will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, with tea and hors d’oeuvres, compliments of the Mountain State Culinary Department.
The community can view progress on the mandala each day through April 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A closing ceremony will be at 2 p.m. April 21.
As is custom, during the closing ceremony, Sangpo will sweep up the sand mandala, a symbolic act showing the impermanence of existence.
The public is welcome to then follow Sangpo to the river where he will disperse the sand.
The event is sponsored by Mountain State University and hosted by Beckley Art Group.