University News

Labyrinth/Mandala Project Completed by Project Insight Students, WIU Art Students

November 16, 2005

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MACOMB, IL – A special project involving Western Illinois University art students and Macomb-area high school students has brought art and secondary education together again.

An open house will be held at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 at Project Insight Alternative School,
330 N. McArthur St. to unveil and celebrate the completion of the school’s new labyrinth/mandala. A labyrinth is a series of concentric circles that has one path leading to the center and back, while a mandala is a geometric symbol of the universe that is typically in the form of an enclosed circle. The project was facilitated by local artist Kelley Quinn, with the help of Western art education students, and the students of Project Insight Alternative School.

This particular piece is composed of a 50-foot in diameter circular mandala design painted directly on the resurfaced asphalt behind the building. A classical seven-circuit labyrinth pattern sits on top of the mandala design, designating a path to be walked to the center and directly back to the artwork.

According to Quinn, mandalas are universal images that are widely used for healing and meditation, while labyrinths are experiencing a revival because of their simple holistic effects.

“The nature of mandalas focuses on finding the center and creating balance,” Quinn explained. “And walking a labyrinth provides a unique way for the body to relax and release the toxins that have built up in the body during the day.”

During the Spring 2006 semester, Quinn will collaborate with two Western professors to research the use of the design as a tool for behavior modification. Quinn forged the working relationship between Project Insight students and Western art students in 2000 with a mural project at Project Insight. This is the third mandala created at the school.

The project was created with donated materials and funding from many local businesses and agencies including the Two Rivers Arts Council, the Illinois Arts Council, The Regional Arts Center Initiative, Citizens National Bank, First Bankers Trust and Company and Sherwin Williams. For more information, contact Quinn at 309/837-2338 or by e-mail at

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing