Opus Magnum

The final project is your Opus Magnum, a personal masterpiece, that will demonstrate what you have learned in this class. It will consist of a personal expressive piece that communicates a specific shared experience in humanity accompanied by a two-page prospectus that details the ideas, influences, methods and meanings behind your expressive piece. Think of your expressive piece as something included in an art gallery, and your prospectus is the paper on the wall providing the explanation.

Objectives of the Final Project

  • Understand methods in producing mediums in the Humanities
  • Recognize the interdisciplinary nature of the Humanities
  • Draw from a wide range of forms and genres within the Humanities to produce unique and personal reflections and expressions of the human experience

Assignment 1 – Define the shared experience

For first task is to decide and define the shared experience you want to express. This is a universal concept that goes to the core of being human. This will be your theme, the message, the meaning that you want convey to the person engaging with the piece. Contemplate deep thoughts, emotions, or experiences that transcend time and culture. Some examples can be;

  • feelings associated with betrayal by a loved one
  • keeping faith during times of struggle
  • finding beauty in darkness
  • overcoming self-doubt
  • contemplating life after death
  • escaping captivity (physical, emotional, mental, etc)
  • finding self-love or losing self-love
  • chaos theory in human actions
  • the feelings associated with discrimination and/or prejudice
  • the list is endless.

Write a 250 word essay describing your selected experience to the class.

Assignment 2 – Research Scholarly References

The second task is to conduct scholarly research on the experience you are going to express. If you are going to address ‘the feeling of falling in love,’ you can explore things like the science of love, what is it? What role does it serve? Are there chemicals involved? Feel free to branch out of the Humanities and grab from psychology or anthropology. Throw in some physics or math if it applies. Research other representations of love; symbolism, stories, songs, etc. What types of artistic representations of love are already in the Humanities?

Format your references in any citation style.

Assignment 2 – Precis

The precis is a one-page (500 word) mini-version of your prospectus (see below). It is the bones of your project, and the foundation you will build on. You should have a rough idea of how you plan to express your meaning; write (and sing) a song, compose (and recite) a poem, produce a sculpture, draw or paint a picture, write a story or play, choreograph a dance, conduct a performance …. it does not matter. What matters is that there is intent in everything you do – every color in the painting, the texture of the sculpture, the symbol in the poem, the rhythm of the song. Your prospectus will explain it. Your precis is to get you started, and you can change it at any time. See the framework below.

Assignment 3 – Prospectus 

Name, Hometown

Media used

Title of Piece

First Paragraph: Explain meaning/experience you are expressing here in detail. Include your perspective and point of view. Why is it significant? How does it connect people?

Second Paragraph: Explain your methods here. Why did you select this medium (painting, poetry, song, etc)? Elaborate on your use of specific color(s), symbols, metaphor, texture, repetition, patterns, etc. Go into detail and get deep. If you are referencing an association/symbol that occurs elsewhere then cite its specific origins – (ie the symbolism of the lotus in Buddhism comes from the Lalitavistara).

Third Paragraph: Go into detail on your influences in the piece and exactly how it influenced your work. For example, the work of Van Gogh’s Starry Night influenced your use of color, the philosophy of Mary Wallstonecroft influence your use of a woman’s body, the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel Chapter 17 inspired your song about overcoming immense challenges, etc. This is where your show your academic research in this class. Major loss of points if this section is not well-developed.

Fourth Paragraph: What do you expect/want others to take away from this piece?

Citations: Reference your research here. Style does not matter.  you will need five scholarly references. Use the library resources to help you.

Two-pages, double spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman, 1″ margins, name (Hometown and Media) in Header.  Prospectus Template in Word

Extra Credit – submit your Prospectus Early for Peer Review and Provide feedback to your classmates

Assignment 4- Final Submission

Submit your expression to the discussion with the final Prospectus attached. Embed a photo, video or audio file of your piece. Do not wait until the last minute! If you experience technical difficulties you must take the initiative to contact Canvas IT and troubleshoot the problem. Emailed and/or late submissions will not receive credit.

This project should be rewarding. Do not forget, this is not an art class. You will not be graded on the product, but on your ability to engage in the process. This is where you can go ahead and take risks. Use odd or strange materials such as found objects or melted wax, or pick up crayons for the first time in years. Experiment with different sounds or movements. Throw out a cuss word (but do not offend any social groups) in a poem. Sing a rap song for the first time. Say something you have always wanted to say but never had the courage before. Watch the video below and get started.