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THE TIBETAN MONKS ARE RETURNING TO TELFAIR MUSEUMS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EIGHT YEARS

SAVANNAH, GA – May 14, 2024 – Telfair Museums is pleased to announce the return of the Tibetan Monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery for a residency from May 14-18 at the Telfair Academy, located at 121 Barnard Street in Savannah, Georgia. Visitors are invited to witness the creation of a sand mandala, a spiritual art form consisting of millions of grains of sand meticulously laid into place on a flat platform. The Tibetan Monks have completed mandala sand paintings in more than 100 museums, art centers, and universities throughout the United States and Europe. Guests of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to experience the unique spiritual art form.  

The mission of the monastery is to study and preserve the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of wisdom and compassion. They will begin their opening ceremony with sacred music and chants, followed by the lamas (monks) sketching a symmetrical mandala on a wooden platform in the Rotunda at the Telfair Academy. Over the span of three days, visitors can observe various colors of sand being poured from traditional metal funnels called chak-purs and watch the work of art transform into a breath-taking mandala. Upon completion, the lamas will conduct a closing ceremony and the mandala will be deconstructed as a metaphor for the impermanence of life.  

“We are pleased to welcome the monks of Drepung Loseling back to Telfair Museums, and to share the beautiful and timeless art form of the sand mandala with Savannahians and visitors. The monks’ residency is one of the museum’s most frequently requested programs and resonates with audiences young and old.”  Said Harry DeLorme, Director of Education and Senior Curator.

Visitation during the construction of the mandala is free for members and included with the museums’ three-site pass, which provides admission to the Telfair Academy, Jepson Center, and Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters.  Due to limited capacity, the opening and closing ceremonies are ticketed with discounts for Telfair members. Free admission is offered to K-12  school groups between 10am–12pm by advance registration only by contacting grouptours@telfair.org.  Members and non-members are strongly encouraged to register in advance for opening and closing programs. 

Scheduled programming includes:   

  • Opening Ceremony – Tuesday, May 14 at 5 pm: Ceremony of sacred music and chants, along with the drawing of the mandala. Register at telfair.org/events.
  • Mandala Construction – May 15 to May 17 from 10 am to 5 pm. This is free for everyone to attend.
  • Closing Ceremony – Saturday, May 18 at 3 pm: Deconstruction and distribution of sand mandala. Pre-registration required at telfair.org/events.

For more information, please visit https://www.telfair.org.

About Telfair Museums:

Opening in 1886, Telfair Museums is the oldest public art museum in the South and the first U.S. Museum founded by a woman. The museum features a world-class art collection in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District and encompasses three sites: the Jepson Center for the Arts, the Owens-Thomas House & Slave Quarters, and the Telfair Academy. For more information on Telfair Museums, please visit www.telfair.org.  

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Beasley at kristyn@lesleyfrancispr.com or 229.393.6457, Allie Robinson at allie@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912.547.3100, Lesley Francis at lesley@lesleyfrancispr.com or 912.429.3950, or the team at 912.417.LFPR (5377).