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Visiting Monks to Construct Sand Mandala for Compassion

Posted: 2011-04-01

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The Joanne Waxman Library is honored to host Geshe Gendun Gyatso, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and Sonam Dhargyal, a former monk and mandala master, while they create "A Sand Mandala for Compassion."  Co-sponsored by MECA and the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine and coordinated by Joan Uraneck in her role as MECA's Intern Chaplain, this event involves the creation of multi-colored sand mandala in the library. The schedule of activities from April 11 to April 17:

Opening ceremony and prayers for peace
April 11th at 2 pm

Daily schedule for April 12 -16
Morning prayers: 8:30am
Mandala creation: 9 am to 4:30 pm
Evening prayers : 4 pm
Dharma talks: 7 pm in Osher Hall

The Closing ceremony and procession to the sea
April 17th at 2 pm:  outside the library

MECA Responds to Mural Removal

Posted: 2011-03-30

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Maine College of Art believes that art and artists play a critical role in society. The removal of the mural from the Department of Labor in Augusta illustrates just how powerful art can be: it can incite controversy, galvanize communities, inspire dialogue, and serve as a catalyst for social change.

As part of their arts education at MECA, our students learn to understand and respect process because it is a crucial component of any civil society.

Governor LePage’s demonstrated lack of respect for the process of commissioning artwork is an act of censorship.

In the original call for art, the Department of Labor asked for a mural in which “the value and dignity of workers and their critical role in creating the wealth of the state and nation should be emphasized. In essence, Maine workers should strongly be portrayed as more than an ‘impersonal cost of production.’” It was the responsibility of the art review committee, consisting of representatives from the Department of Labor, to select the proposal which best met these criteria. They selected Judy Taylor who created the site-specific artwork depicting the requested theme.

Four years later, newly elected Governor LePage reacted to the content of the mural calling it “one-sided” and had it removed it from the lobby of the Department of Labor and asked instead for a neutral decor. Art is not decoration, nor is it neutral. It is provocative and should elicit a response from individuals. It is not created to please all who view it. Art, like democracy, allows for differing opinions, for discourse, for expression of personal beliefs.

Art serves as a mirror that reflects a moment in time. This mural captures a piece of history. Governor LePage did not like what he saw.  By removing the mural, he smashed that mirror – an attempt to rewrite history.

This public mural is meant for the people of Maine. Maine College of Art requests that Governor LePage respect the process by which the artwork was selected and installed.  Put the mural back.


Donald L. Tuski, Ph.D.
President
Maine College of Art
Portland, Maine