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Mandala Sand Painting: A free public exhibition at Sangamon Auditorium, UIS

April 18, 2007

Contact: Bryan Leonard, 217/206-8284, leonard.bryan@uis.edu

SPRINGFIELD -- The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery will be practicing the artistic tradition of sand painting in the lobby area of Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield.  This event is free and open to the public and will take place over a three day period -- Tuesday, April 24, through Friday, April 27.

Among all the artistic traditions of Tantric Buddhism, creating mandalas -- paintings made with colored sand -- is considered one of the most unique and exquisite.  Millions of grains of sand are painstakingly laid into place on a flat platform over a period of days.  Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and ancient spiritual symbols, the mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.

The lamas begin the work by drawing an outline of the mandala on a wooden platform. Throughout the following days, the colored sands are laid out by pouring them from traditional metal funnels. Each monk holds such an instrument in one hand while running a metal rod on its grated surface; the resulting vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.

Event schedule for the Mandala Sand Painting:

Tuesday, April 24

  • Opening ceremony at 12 noon
  • Public viewing and construction 12 noon - 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 25

  • Public viewing and construction, 10:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • Tibet Today: The History of a Diaspora, public lecture by English-speaking representative of the Drepung Loseling Monastery, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., sponsored by the UIS Capital Scholars Honors Program, the UIS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the UIS History and Anthropology Departments. This lecture focuses on the contemporary Tibet situation: the invasion by Communist China in the 1950s, the efforts of the refugees in exile to preserve their civilization, and the situation in occupied Tibet.

Thursday, April 26

  • Public viewing and construction 10:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Friday, April 27

  • Public viewing and construction 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
  • Closing ceremony at 12 noon
  • Pre-show discussion 7:15 p.m. One or two monks will participate in a pre-show discussion about their evening presentation Sacred Music, Sacred Dance for World Healing.  The discussion will be hosted by Bhikkhu Mahinda, longtime Springfield resident and former Buddhist monk

All the above mentioned events are free and open to the public in connection with the Tibetan Monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery performance of Sacred Music, Sacred Dance for World Healing that will be presented on Friday, April 27, at 8 p.m. on the Sangamon Auditorium main stage.  The performance is comprised of nine pieces believed to generate energies conducive to world healing.  Tickets for Sacred Music, Sacred Dance for World Healing can be ordered by visiting www.SangamonAuditorium.org.  Tickets may also be ordered over the phone by calling the Sangamon Auditorium Ticket Office at 217/206-6160 or toll free at 800-207-6960.

These programs are partially supported by grants from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Sangamon Auditorium is located at the University of Illinois at Springfield and hosts more than 120 performances annually.  Also home to the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Springfield Ballet Company, it is the only auditorium of its kind and size in the Springfield area, with a seating capacity of 2,018.  Sangamon Auditorium continues to fulfill its mission of presenting and supporting varied cultural and educational professional arts activities to audiences in Springfield, Sangamon County, and the surrounding areas.  Performing arts events are sponsored, in part, by a grant through the Illinois Arts Council.  The auditorium administrative offices can be reached at 217/206-6150 or via email at onstage@uis.edu.

For more information or to request artist interviews: Bryan Leonard, 217/206-8284, leonard.bryan@uis.edu.



The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs: 21 bachelorís, 20 masterís, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.

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Sangamon Auditorium at UIS

See photos of sand paintings

Performance of Sacred Music, Sacred Dance by the Drepung Loseling Monks


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