A group of Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery are visiting Santa Maria this week.
During their visit, the monks will be creating a sand mandala at Allan Hancock College’s Ann Foxworthy Gallery.
Sand mandalas are part of Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The works of art are created using millions of grains of colored sand.
Once the mandala is completed, it will be ritualistically destroyed in a ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14.
The event is free and open to the public. Community members can also view the mandala between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Some people come knowing a lot about the Buddhist faith and knowing a lot about sand mandalas,” said Laura-Susan Thomas, Director of the Ann Foxworthy Gallery. “Those group(s) of people are coming to really sit in this space because there is such an amazing energy here.”
This is the fourth time since 2013 that the monks have created a sand mandala at the college.
On Tuesday, the monks also visited the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum where they performed a lion dance for the children.
“It was great to see the kids really animated and excited, kind of like freaked out a bit, but it was neat,” said Genna Moulton, a mom from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Thursday evening, the monks will put on a cultural performance at the CORE Winery tasting room in Orcutt, located at 105 W. Clark Ave., from 7-8:30 p.m.
The monks will also be selling Tibetan handicrafts throughout their visit.