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Stop Day tour will offer perspective on seven liberal arts

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

LAWRENCE — Retired University of Kansas professor Ted Johnson will give his annual Stop Day walking tour of the architecture and sculptures on the Lawrence campus on Friday, May 6. 

The tour theme is Perspectives on the Monuments of Mount Oread. It will begin at 9 a.m. in front of the KU Natural History Museum, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., and is expected to end around 5 p.m. Participants may come and go as they please. Sponsored by the Humanities and Western Civilization Program, the tour is open to all, and groups are welcome.  

“Emphasis as usual will be on the interrelations of the traditional seven liberal arts  – grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy – as they can be discovered in the sculptures on various buildings of the University of Kansas,” Johnson said. 

The traditional marathon Stop Day walking tour of campus, which began in the early 1990s, consists of informal, peripatetic, Socratic dialogues growing out of various sites, Johnson said. 

In the event of inclement weather, participants will gather at 9 a.m. in the portico of Lippincott Hall and visit the Wilcox Classical Museum. The group will have lunch at noon in the Kansas Union. When the inclement weather clears, the walking tour will resume at the appropriate time and place on the program. 

The discussions, open to all who join the tour as it moves about the campus during the day, will turn around the following ideas:

9 a.m.: “Whoso Findeth Wisdom Findeth Life.” Location: KU Natural History Museum.

Topic: An inquiry into the interrelations of the Romanesque Revival architecture and iconography of both Spooner Hall, the first university library and the Natural History Museum. 

10 a.m.: "The Seven Liberal Arts and the Classical Tradition." Location: Lippincott Hall.

Topic: The Daniel Chester French statue group of "Mentor and Student," mens sana in corpore sano, the Ionic portico of Lippincott Hall, laws, letter and spirit, the liberal arts, and drawing ideas from sculptures in the Wilcox Classical Museum. 

11 a.m.: “Make Our Garden Grow” (final chorus of Leonard Bernstein’s "Candide"). Location: Twente Hall and then to the Prairie Acre.

Topic: An inquiry into the implications of the quotation from Plato’s “Republic” just inside the door of the former student hospital — “Our youth will dwell in a land of health and fair sights and sounds” — and the campus as garden with the Prairie Acre and sculptures representing a "Prairie Formation," “Sheath of Wheat,” "St. George and the Dragon" and "Mercury." 

Noon: "Memory, the Muses, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences." Location: Watson Library and then to Wescoe Hall for lunch.

Topic: An inquiry into the implications of the iconography on the College Gothic northern façade of the university library, the Romanesque Revival eastern façade of Stauffer-Flint as prototype for the façade of the Natural History Museum and the late Brutalism of the humanities building, 

1 p.m.: Lunch and conversation. Location: “The Underground," a food court with wide selections on the first floor of Wescoe Hall, the Humanities Building.

2 p.m.  “A University Explores Everything in the Universe.” Location: Anschutz Science Library, then various sites leading to the Chi Omega Fountain.

Topic: Beginning with the glass pyramid, the resonant portico and a stairwell as Aeolian harp producing Pythagorean overtones, we view the ramparts of Mount Oread and the “Mud Hut” with earth and concrete ashlars as we wend our way to the Chi Omega Fountain.  

3 p.m. “Civilization Is Measured by the Extent to Which People Obey Unenforceable Laws. Civilization, Memory, Memorials and our Alma Mater."  Location: 
Chi Omega Fountain, then Memorial Drive to the Memorial Campanile.
An inquiry into the cycles of life, death, wheat, seasons, courage, honor and sacrifice taking as point of departure a linear pear orchard, the story of Persephone, Demeter, Hades and pomegranates on the Chi Omega Fountain and the low wall of a hieron in front of evergreens and a row of flowering crabapples, a bronze dance of cranes, a copse through which threaded the “path of soles” and a bagpiper, lake and the bourdon bell of Memorial Campanile sounding the hour.  

4 p.m. “Free Government Does Not Bestow Repose upon Its Citizens but Sets Them in the Vanguard of Battle to Defend the Liberty of Every Man.” Location: The Memorial Campanile.

The implications of the Memorial Campanile with its carillon, bourdon bell and inscription carved in stone. An ancient sycamore tree, the Memorial Stadium, and shadows and raking light in Marvin Grove.  

5 p.m. Tentative syntheses and perspectives. Location: Arthur D. Weaver Court,  adjacent to Spooner Hall, the first university library.

Having come full circle, a summing up of the day’s dialogues in a garden where, formerly, under the dappled shade of graceful trees arching over the merry splashing of a fountain, floated a quartet of large rocks.