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The Lotus Effect

A Participatory Installation for Times of Transformation

June 18, 2020–January 10, 2021

The submission period for The Lotus Effect has officially closed.

Lotuses grow in muddy, murky waters, rise to the surface, and unfold. They bloom untainted by the muck and serve as a reminder, albeit a temporary one, that moments of beauty can emerge from the toughest conditions. In Tibetan Buddhism this sacred symbol is associated with purity, awakening, transformation, and compassion, and it appears in works of art at the Rubin Museum.

For The Lotus Effect, we invite you to fold an origami lotus of your own and contribute it to a physical installation. The installation will serve as a community-built symbol of gratitude for the people and things that help us get through difficult moments.

How to participate

  • Fold an origami lotus flower
  • Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to fold a paper lotus, and dedicate your lotus to someone or something that supports you through challenging times. Get creative! You can add color, words, or even shapes. Make it uniquely yours. If you’re planning to bring your lotus to the Museum, please use a paper size that is less than 36 in. x 36 in.
  • Bring your origami lotus to the Museum
  • We invite you to bring your origami lotus to the Museum to contribute to the physical installation located in the Spiral Lobby. Please note, while a ticket is not required to enter this space, participants will need to follow all safety protocols. To visit the galleries, we recommend purchasing a ticket in advance as limited walk-up tickets will be available at the door.
  • Share on social media
  • While the Museum is closed, photograph your origami lotus and share it on social media using the #TheLotusEffect and tagging @RubinMuseum. Who or what are the “lotuses” in your life that remind you of the bloom beyond murky waters?
  • Mail or email
  • You can mail your lotus to the Rubin Museum to become part of the physical installation or email a photograph of your lotus to to be part of an onsite digital slideshow.
  • Mailing address
  • The Lotus Effect
  • Rubin Museum of Art
  • 140 West 17th Street
  • New York, NY 10011
  • Fold as a (Virtual) Group

Your entry constitutes your consent to reproduction of your submission by the Rubin Museum of Art, without limitation, in perpetuity, for purposes of publicity and marketing materials.

The Lotus Effect and educational programs are made possible through the generosity of Agnes Gund, New York Life Insurance Company*, The Prospect Hill Foundation, Tiger Baron Foundation, Con Edison, The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The Year of Impermanence at the Rubin Museum is made possible by Bob and Lois Baylis, Fred Eychaner, Christopher J. Fussner, Agnes Gund, Matt and Ann Nimetz, Rasika and Girish Reddy, and Shelley and Donald Rubin.
General operating support of the Rubin Museum of Art is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as by generous donations from the Museum’s Board of Trustees, individual donors and members.

*”NEW YORK LIFE” and the NEW YORK LIFE Box Logo are trademarks of New York Life Insurance Company. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Fold a lotus with origami artist Uttam Grandhi

Watch the video to learn how to fold your own lotus for an installation at the Rubin.

Follow the step-by-step guide and learn more about the artist.

Find lotuses in our collection

Search for symbols of the lotus in paintings and sculptures in the Museum’s online collection. You’ll often find lotuses in the hands of deities or adorning their thrones.