Dozens gathered at the NorthWest Florida State College campus today to see a demonstration of a centuries-old form of art.
"This art is very ancient, like two-thousand five hundred years old art. It's very ancient. It's the art special for healing, blessing and peace and harmony" said Nawang Tenzin.
These Tibetan Monks are making a mandala, an intricate work of art created out of colored sand. But the work of art is only part of the overall spiritual mandala experience, that begins with an opening ceremony.
"And that opening ceremony is a way of kind of consecrating and purifying and blessing the site before they begin to create this sand mandala" said Doctor Sarah Paulk.
The monks will spend four days pouring the sand into the boundaries of a chalk outline. Each mandala holds a specific significance.
"The mandala that they're doing is called Auchovia and it's the mandala for peace and conflict resolution" said Paulk.
When it's completed the monks will then destroy the work of art, by returning the sand to nature. The act symbolizes imperfection. Mattie Kelly Art center Director K.C. Williams says the center is proud to bring this experience to local residents.
"We do our best to bring things to the panhandle that the panhandle would not ordinarily experience. So this is the example par excellence of bringing something to this area that most people would never have the opportunity. It gives our students especially a good chance to see things outside of our area."
This is the fourth sand mandala demonstration for Mattie Kelly, and one of the most popular events at the art center.