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Mandala Art Project Inspires Creativity and Connection

Christopher Robinson and  Gina Marie Jasionowski work on a mandala art project in Randall Library.
Christopher Robinson, outreach and engagement librarian for UNCW's Randall Library, works with Watson College of Education graduate student Gina Jasionowski on the Mandala in Harmony Project to help promote community and belongingness through mindfulness activities.
Photo: Jeff Janowski/UNCW

Seahawks are finding an escape from the daily grind between the intricate lines and vibrant colors of mandala art.

Over the past month, UNCW’s Randall Library has offered students, faculty and staff a unique opportunity to unwind and find solace through the Mandala in Harmony project. Outreach and Engagement Librarian Christopher Robinson and Gina Marie Jasionowski, a Watson College of Education graduate student, developed the collaborative art initiative. The mandala is also a component of Robinson’s North Carolina Library Association Leadership Institute project.

“The project is designed to be a passive library engagement program to foster community and belonging, to be used as an introduction to mindfulness activities, and to be a promotional tool to promote the Retreat at Randall,” said Robinson. “The endgame is to hang the finished piece in the library along with the names of those who participated in the project. If successful, I plan to repeat the project next spring.”

The life-size mandala on plexiglass features ocean waves, fish and other elements of nature. Individuals can fill in the designs with colorful ink. Jasionowski, who is seeking a master’s degree in teaching with a concentration in art education, created the design inspired by the Retreat at Randall.

“I wanted the mandala design to match the retreat in having a feeling of peacefulness and calm,” she said. “I reflected on the motifs of nature on campus and the broader beach culture in Wilmington. Also, I wanted to incorporate a connection to culture that is already present in the retreat.”

Art is an avenue for expression and release, Jasionowski continued. 

“To release emotions and ideas through creative endeavors such as visual art is a way to promote health and wellness for body, mind, and spirit,” she added. “It is my hope that a participant can become part of the moment and experience the satisfaction of being present, feeling happiness, creativity and peacefulness. No matter what is going on in a participant’s day or life, they can come in for a moment and be present.”

The mandala is in the Retreat at Randall on the second floor of Randall Library, room 2016. It will be available all day on Wednesdays through the end of April and during the Recharge at Randall event on May 2 from 1- 4 p.m. on the first floor of the library. Starting May 8, the Retreat at Randall will be closed while the library undergoes renovations.

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