Lay and Painter: Thanks, community |

Lay and Painter: Thanks, community

The Bud Werner Memorial Library extends our deepest gratitude for the community's outpouring of enthusiasm and support for our recent residency by the Drepung Loseling monks while they created a stunning Green Tara sand mandala in Library Hall. As the monks' staggeringly beautiful artwork emerged, we witnessed an outpouring of respect and admiration for the intricate process and the message of compassion and abundance signified in the mandala's completion and imminent destruction.

While thousands of people poured through the library during five days, we were thrilled to see such captivated engagement in the hands-on community sand painting, which evolved in three-and-a-half unique colorful renditions during the time the monks worked across the room on their mandala. We admire the great artistic leadership take by Steamboat's children in making each one of the sand paintings so beautiful.

The library is honored to have presented this rich cultural program for the community. Its enormous success is due, in no small part, to the many generous organizations and individuals who donated their time, resources and expertise to help make it happen.

We are grateful to Steamboat Today for its outstanding and extensive coverage of the mandala's process, keeping the community engaged with beautiful photos and stories throughout the week. Deepest thanks to Julie Green for opening her home to the monks during their stay and making them feel so welcome in her peaceful sanctuary.

Gratitude to the generous Buddhist Center of Steamboat Springs sangha for teaming up to cook all those beautiful lunches and dinners for the monks. Special thanks to Buddhist Center founder Tim Olmstead for his consultation and undying support from the start, and the center's Erik Gilbert for helping spearhead the organization of so many meals.

We are grateful to Julie Tucek and Susan Mead for taking the monks out for some nights on the town, and Strawberry Park Hot Springs for starting their week off with a soak in our legendary waters. Thanks to Ann Ross and Erica Olson for making delicious lunches, plus Erica's much appreciated chair massages for the monks on day five.

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An incredible team of yogis spearheaded the breakfasts: Jeanne Upbin, Cami Bunn and Kate Hawk; Nina Darlington and Sue Berkhahan; Cristen Malia and Becky Obray; Libbie Mathes and Kristina Johnson; Emmanuelle Vital with Louis and Mateo Vital-Bartels; and Tracy Zuschlag and Sheryl Kelley.

Thanks to Rich Lay for building us a beautiful and sturdy community sand painting table and Alpine Lumber for donating all the materials; Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. for loaning us your stanchions and the GoPro that gave us all those fun time-lapse films; and George Fargo for having the magic selfie stick that gave the community the sole top-down shot of the completed mandala.

Thank you to all the incredible community sand painting volunteers who minded the table, shared the joy of play with our community and helped teach us how to master the chak-pur.

Without a doubt, this experience will live in Steamboat's collective hearts for a long time to come. May the spirit of compassion and abundance that the monks created in our mandala sand painting live long in Yampa Valley. Thug je che (That's a Tibetan thank you).

Jennie Lay, Chris Painter and the Bud Werner Memorial Library staff