You will see many works of art when you visit the

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- You will see many works of art when you visit the Walker Art Center. Your pretending powers are now part of your art detective skills. As you use your eyes to look at art, think about your five senses when talking about the art in the museum! Module 3 3-1 Universal Ideas That Inform the Humanities Overview: Universal Ideas What does an artifact tell us about an individual, about a culture, about humanity as a whole? Think about your two-part project in which you will have to develop questions about fundamental aspects based on your study of the artifact you chose. How does this artifact provide an outlet for ideas and feelings? Is it an outlet only for the individual, or is there some widespread idea or feeling common to people in the society or culture in which the artifact was created? Beyond the creator and his or her culture, is there something universal being expressed in this work that could touch people in other parts of the world or with other experiences? Of course, the humanities offer more than an outlet for personal or group expression. The creation of artifacts is a way in which people can communicate with each other and share ideas. Can you think of examples of artifacts that perform this function? What are other reasons behind the creation of artifacts? The humanities may help us heal, as individuals and as a society. They may give us a way to protest injustice or cruelty and change the world around us. The folksinger Woody Guthrie helped bring about fair treatment to farm workers through his protest songs. Can you think of other examples in which films, paintings, or performances brought about change? Creators may think they are expressing only their own thoughts and experiences in an artifact, but subconsciously, they are expressing deep human feelings and ideas common to many others, in their own social group
or in the world at large. This learning block will give you the opportunity to identify the universal ideas such as love, caring for others, freedom, the fulfillment of basic needs for all people, the preservation of the environment, and others. How do these ideas inform the humanities through everyday artifacts as well as great expressions of art and other forms of culture? Don't Dismiss the Humanities What use could the humanities be in a digital age? University students focusing on the humanities may end up, at least in their parents' nightmares, as dog-walkers for those majoring in computer science. But, for me, the humanities are not only relevant but also give us a toolbox to think seriously about ourselves and the world. I wouldn't want everybody to be an art or literature major, but the world would be poorer -- figuratively, anyway -- if we were all coding software or running companies. We also want musicians to awaken our souls, writers to lead us into fictional lands, and philosophers to help us exercise our minds and engage the world.

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