Arts, Culture, and Spirit on the Silk Roads

Fall 2017
Winter 2018
OlympiaStudy Abroad
Olympia +
study abroad option
Class Size: 25
Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

Compare offerings and share your lists with others.

Taught by

visual arts, Chinese studies, human development

All human societies and cultures express their relationship to spirit through art. Art is the earliest and most enduring expression of humanity. For community and the individual, art can be a practice of connecting with higher consciousness and with the spirit. In today's global community it is important to understand art of other cultures and by so doing to awaken art within oneself while learning to understand the "other."

Education and Arts are at the core of creating a healthy, diverse, and civic society. Children naturally understand the importance of art and are creating art constantly in their play. Children also have an instinctive sense of right and wrong. In the modern, industrial world these natural abilities often become suppressed and lost. Modern educators need to be confident in their own artistic abilities and grounded in their own moral core; they need to be trained in communication across cultures to be able to support development and cooperation in the modern world.

Silk Roads could be a metaphor for such cooperation. In the past, Silk Roads connected cultures of east and west and facilitated trade, communication and advancement of consciousness in a peaceful way. What are the Silk Roads of today? How can we envision Silk Roads of the future?

The students in this half-time, interdisciplinary program will immerse themselves in study and practice of art and in cultural experiences that are vastly different from the Western dominant culture by studying Native American, Muslim, Hebrew, and Chinese cultures. Students will make art, study myths and world religions as they have been shaped by cultures and landscapes of the past, and examine cultural and ethical norms. Students will also examine cultural influences and pressures of today's global society and will investigate the importance of preserving and developing cultural, artistic, and ethical traditions. Students will engage in traditional academic study such as reading, writing, and seminars and will also engage in art making, meditation, community events, and the practice of Tai Ji. Students will participate in their community's spiritual practices and will cultivate their own spiritual, meditative, ethical, and artistic life. In addition to classroom study, students will participate in meditation retreats and will go on field trips to explore art and spiritual resources in the community.

In winter quarter students will be able to work on community service projects, in schools, and on Native American reservations. Students will also have the option to travel to China in March of 2017 to study in important Daoist, Buddhist, and Confucian centers.

Possible MiT endorsement credits are available. Please contact the faculty for more information.

Study abroad:

China 3 weeks, winter, approximately $3,500.00, with possible extended stay abroad for service learning and for mentoring Chinese students in American culture and English language. For details on study abroad, visit or contact Michael Clifthorne at

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

business, education, & cultural studies


Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

Variable Credit Options:

Winter: A 4-credit option is available for students to participate only in the study abroad component. Please contact Hirsh Diamant for additional information and the required signature to register. 

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers 25 - 49% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$50 in fall for an overnight field trip; $20 in winter for Lunar New Year seminar registration and concert tickets. For study abroad in China and Vietnam, 3 weeks, winter, approximately $3,500.00

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 25

Scheduled for: Weekend

Advertised schedule:

Fall Quarter: Every Saturday, 9:30 am - 5 pm; Winter Quarter: Specifics to be announced. Overnight retreat is planned for Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 18-19, 2017. Study abroad: Week 6-10 of Winter quarter.

Located in: Olympia

2017-12-13Winter quarter fee updated to $20 (was $10)
2017-07-06New Fall/Winter Program: Replacing Business and Culture along the Silk Road