Lori Bailey Cunningham
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and had the good fortune of having artist-parents who supplied me with an abundance of art materials and gave me plenty of opportunities for creative expression. I began drawing "circle art" when I was very young, and often incorporated radial patterns into my art projects.

It was not until 1978 that I discovered there was a name for the designs to which I was so drawn. I was given the book Mandala, by Jose and Miriam Arguelles, which deepened my interest in mandala expression. I continued to explore creating mandalas in many mediums and used them in my profession of graphic design as well.

When the idea for the Mandala Project emerged in 1996, I sensed a shift in the direction of my career as well as in my personal development. As I explored the idea of using mandala art to promote peace, it became apparent that seeing things as a whole was a simple concept that needed to be incorporated into education. This isn't a new idea, just one that isn't well-used in public education.

I am convinced that the mandala, as a representation of wholeness, can be a potent and even necessary element in education. When information is supplied within a context that is united by a central focus, learning makes sense and is more easily assimilated.

In addition to an ever-expanding interest in education, my research into the mandala has also increased my appreciation and awe for the world around me. The mandala helps to explain the world we live in: how cycles exist within cycles; material forms spring from an infinite, primal pattern; and how all things are connected. When seen within a holistic framework, the world makes more sense and yet holds even more mystery--such a paradox!

In the fall of 2000 I received a call from LaVonne Carlson, an editor for DK Publishing, who asked me to write a book about the mandala. Writing the book was an incredible experience for which I am very thankful. My hope is that the book will inspire readers to see the world differently--just as I have--through exploration of the mandala.