My humanities moment happened at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The piece that struck me the most during my visit to the museum was “Untitled No. 11, 1963” by Mark Rothko. This painting made me feel alone, made me ponder what it would feel like to be devoid of all senses, and made me ask myself “What happens when we die”?

The simple black painting made me feel alone. It made me wonder what it would be like to not have any human interaction. It made me consider how dehumanizing it would be. The more I thought about how terrible a lack of human connections would be, the more I was thankful for my family and friends. I was thankful for the memories that I have made with them, and I thought about what I enjoyed about them. I decided that I most enjoyed sharing ideas with my friends. My friends and I enjoy engaging in debates and challenging one another. Thinking about losing the things I enjoy most about my friends and family made me put a higher value on the time that I get to spend with them.

While viewing the painting, I considered what it would feel like to be devoid of all my senses. I thought about what losing connection to the world around me would feel like. After this experience, I found that I was able to better appreciate the art that I viewed throughout the rest of the museum. I was able to better understand what emotions the pieces were conveying to me. This experience made me reevaluate how fortunate I am to be able to see the blue sky, hear the birds’ song, smell the fresh air, touch the soft grass, and taste delicious food. I found that the more aware I was of my senses the more beauty I found in the world.

The final thought that this painting led me to was “What happens when we die?”. I gazed upon the emptiness and darkness in the painting considered how it applied to dying. I contemplated the emptiness that I would feel if I had no emotions, thoughts, purpose. I came to realize that I may not know what will happen when I die, but I can appreciate and make the most of my life. Instead of waiting for things to be over, or things that are to come, I have begun to find enjoyment in the moment. I realized that simple things can sometimes be the most beautiful.

All the feelings and thoughts that resulted from my viewing “Untitled No. 11, 1963” by Mark Rothko, were impactful to me. Through this experience, I gained a deeper appreciation for the humanities and the everyday beauty in our world. I became more thankful for my family and friends, my senses, and my life. The experience that I had has helped me better understand and value the humanities.

– Gabriel Ritch (High School Student)