Students at Pleasant Grove School are currently working with nationally acclaimed artist G. Patrick Riley in the creation of a work of art to be displayed on the school grounds.

Riley, and Pleasant Grove Art teacher, Lynn Pollei, are teaching the students about mandalas.  According to Riley, mandalas are circles that are geographical representations of the universe.  “They appear in ancient art from India and were used in theories developed by Carl Jung.  In yoga practices, the Mandala is often a support for meditation,” he added.

After studying mandalas, 5th – 8th grade students are creating woven mandalas using hula hoops.  Geometric shapes, animal forms and symbols are used as inspirations for the mandalas.  Fabric, yarn, t-shirts and other recycled material are being used in the weaving. The whole school is involved.  Riley inspires and directs younger children in developing their mandalas using painting, drawing and collage techniques.

Pleasant Grove superintendent Scott Roper said, “Having students work with Patrick is a great opportunity for them.  They are learning about history, other cultures and improving language skills.” 

Patrick Riley’s artwork is featured in collections throughout the country.  He even created a mask for Lady Gaga.  This is Riley’s fourth residency at Pleasant Grove over the past several years. “I love the students and teachers at Pleasant Grove.  It’s great to be at a school that understands that art is a necessity in student development.”

Pleasant Grove School is a Pre-K – 8th grade school in Shawnee that serves 237 students.  Every student is offered visual arts instruction at least once per week.  The artist residency was made possible by a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council.  The Shawnee Arts Council donated supplies for the project.