Arts Break: Keep Calm & Create Mandalas

Mandalas designed by Arts Council staff

In Sanskrit, a mandala translates to both circle and center, implying that it represents both the visible world around us and the invisible one (deep inside our minds – the center of healing). Bringing the mandala into the workplace this summer has been a conscious effort to get employees to realize that art does not always consist of paint buckets, pastels, and brushes. Meaningful art can be created with a pen and blank sheet of paper. Items we utilize everyday within our offices can become tools that enable us to express and change the way we process emotions and think in general. Aside from the aesthetic beauty, creating art taps into your thought processes, encouraging you to think outside the box in all aspects of life.



Completed mandalas can look very intricate, but don’t let that intimidate you – they are very basic in structure. It helps to start at the center of a polar graph and work your way outwards. The patterns, details, and spaces you choose within your design are always unique. The act of repeating a pattern consistently in a circular path can sound like a tedious chore, but in reality it calms your nerves and enables your mind to wander past the physical patterns into deeper levels of thinking and consciousness. It can also promote mindfulness and is an activity frequently used in art therapy.

Paying more attention to the present moment both to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you can improve your sense of mental wellbeing. Moreover, it is this awareness that is commonly referred to as mindfulness. Accordingly, one of the most important things to remember about mindfulness is that there are a wide variety of steps that you can take to develop it in your own life.

For example, whereas some people enjoy creating art, others prefer meditation and new age crystal or gemstone therapies such as the use of jade or yoni eggs. There is a lot of anecdotal research to suggest that through combining these mindfulness practices inner peace will be achieved. It is therefore crucial that you keep an open mind, and research as many different approaches to mindfulness as possible.

With our very first mandala art activity coordinated at United Technologies Corporation’s Aerospace department last week, we were able to see firsthand how anyone who came into the room was able to experience the calmness associated with creating mandalas. At certain times, the room would become silent as everyone became engrossed in their artwork. At other times, the room would become abuzz with chatter comparing and contrasting different patterns, colors, and ideas.


“When you draw an object, the mind becomes deeply, intensely attentive and it’s that act of attention that allows you to really grasp something, to become fully conscious of it.”

– Milton Glaser, 2008 monograph titled Drawing Is Thinking

The mandala, which is always unique to the creator, is meant to capture your state of being within the environment you inhabit. Collaborating with those around you in a simple art activity does just that; it encourages you to explore yourself in relation to the world around you. It creates a fuller realization that is meant to calm and focus the individual. Inspired? Create your own mandala and tag @LetsGoArts_org on Instagram to get featured.

Support the arts! Every contribution goes a long way.