Mandala-feature

SCC brings cultural diversity to St. Charles County

Forget what you thought you knew about the Four Cs. The Mystical Arts of Tibet are bringing a new set of Cs to St. Charles County March 30-April 3.

Culture, calmness, color and creativity will come alive on the St. Charles Community College campus during a tour stop promoting the artistic activities of Tibet and the Drepung Loseling Monastery.

Mandala-inset-1“At SCC, we expose the community to different cultures,” said Mandi Smith, student activities coordinator and member of the SCC Multicultural Programming Committee, who helped arrange for the Tibetan monks’ visit.

Throughout their four days on campus, the monks will show students and the community a rare glimpse into their lives.

“Just sitting and watching the monks work in silence was incredible,” said Vicky Herbel, SCC associate professor, program coordinator for sociology and anthropology, and member of the Multicultural Programming Committee who witnessed the monks the last time they were on campus. “There was such an aura of peace and tranquility that drew me to stop each time I walked by.”

The men on tour are not full-time artists, rather genuine monks who are taking time off from their lifelong devotion to contemplation and study to participate in educational showcases like the one at SCC.

The monks traverse the country with aspirations of spreading world peace and healing through sacred art, generating awareness of the endangered Tibetan civilization and raising support for the Tibetan refugee community in India. To date, the monks have created mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, arts centers, and colleges and universities in the United States and Europe.

Mandala-inset-2Opening ceremonies will take place in the SSB lounge at noon Monday, March 30, in the lounge of the Daniel J. Conoyer Social Sciences Building. Admission is free and open to the public.

The group will construct a mandala sand painting, a tradition of Tantric Buddhism where millions of sand grains are delicately laid in place, grain by grain, to generate energies for global healing.

Paul Roesler, a political science professor at SCC who witnessed the event in 2011, is looking forward to their return. “The mandala project was amazing. To see them start with a plain table and end with an incredibility intricate and colorful work of art was remarkable.”

Free public viewing is open while the monks work on the mandala noon-6 p.m. Monday, March 30, and each day after from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. until the closing ceremony on April 3.

The monks will finish the mandala around 11 a.m. Thursday, April 3, and the closing ceremony will take place at noon. At that time, the monks will distribute half of the consecrated sand to guests in attendance and keep the other half for the final part of the closing ceremony at the lake that the Social Sciences Building and the Café-Bookstore.

“You often hear and learn about other cultures, but it’s an entirely different experience when you get to be a part of it,” Smith said.

Article by Brynne Cramer. Photos by Ben Munson.

About Brynne Cramer

Hi! My name is Brynne, and I am the marketing specialist at St. Charles Community College. I love to talk, laugh, learn, write, and spend time with my family and friends. I graduated from Missouri State University with a bachelor's degree in Public Relations in May 2012, where I was also a member of the women's swim team. I am currently pursuing a master's degree in communications with an emphasis on promotions at Lindenwood University. In my free time, I write a personal blog: glutenfreehungrygal.com. Check it out! I look forward to the future and what it brings!
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