Montrose Residents Get Last Look at Tibetan Sand Painting

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For two weeks, an ongoing art exhibit at the Ute Indian Museum has caught the attention of many on the Western Slope. But this weekend marks the last time they will get to see it before it is gone forever.

Wisdom and Peace -- that's how two Tibetan monks describe their creation. The sand painting, known in Tibetan culture as a sand mandala, is a visual and artistic healing prayer. After 39 hours, the prayer is finally done.

"It's just so perfect," said Rich Sherry, a volunteer with the Asanga Institute.

For ten days, the monks have set up shop at the Ute Indian Museum, giving visitors a firsthand look at how tiny grains of sand can become a work of art.

"It's very detailed and beautiful," said museum visitor Sherry Olree. "I've traveled all over the world and I've never seen anything quite like that."

And Olree isn't the only one who's impressed.

"They've been here for two weeks and it's been overwhelming," said CJ Brafford, Director of the Ute Indian Museum.

The staff at the museum says the exhibit has brought in hundreds of excited visitors. They say they're glad they had the chance to give people something to see that was different.

"It's about bringing cultural awareness to our community and to our visitors who come here," said Brafford. "It's bridging a better understanding of what we all are as very diverse people."

Even though the monks can hang up their utensils, they say there's still one thing they must do before the mandala is completely finished -- destroy it, as is tradition.

"It's such a beautiful piece of work, but nothing is permanent," said Sherry. "It's a wonderful Buddhist lesson."

Even though the work will be gone for good tomorrow morning, museum visitors and staff say it's meaning will last with them forever.

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