To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #DoNowLegacy

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

Do Now

If you were king or queen of the Universe, what message would you leave behind that would become your legacy for centuries to come? What are some of the major accomplishments you hope to achieve? What will you do to make the world better?


Art School-featured artist Ala Ebtekar created a project in collaboration with students at the Asian Art Museum that was inspired by the Cyrus Cylinder exhibition. “Cyrus the Great” was the King of Persian in the 6th Century BC and was discovered in 1879 in Mesopotamia, the area that is now known as Iraq. On the clay cylinder are inscriptions about Cyrus’ accomplishments and the legacy he left behind.

When the Cylinder traveled to San Francisco to be exhibited at the Asian Art Museum, Ala Ebtekar, whose work is influenced by traditional Iranian art forms, along with contemporary culture, set out to create a project that paid tribute to the Cylinder and involved a community of students. Students were asked to discuss their own ideas about legacy, and describe what they would inscribe on their own Cylinder. What would their accomplishments be? What changes would they like to see in the world, and how would they influence those changes?

Ebtekar collected recordings of students’ responses and worked with his uncle, Ata Ebtekar, to take the recordings and engineer a special audio track that was pressed onto wax cylinders, which are an early form of vinyl records. The recordings were played out of a gramaphone (also known as a phonograph) at the museum as part of the Cyrus Cylinder exhibition’s special programs.

Beyond this one-night event, Ala Ebtekar wants to continue the conversation with people around the world, and launched the web site as a space to collect student responses to the question about future legacies. Now is your opportunity to contribute to the project, an ongoing conversation among people all over the world. Tweet your response to the question, or even submit your response in video or audio format, and take part in this conversation about our future.


KQED Arts Education video Ala Ebtekar’s Cylindr.Us Project
Artist Ala Ebtekar created a community art project inspired by the Cyrus Cylinder, an historical art object that tells the story of King Cyrus the Great of Persia. For Ebtekar’s Cylindr.Us project, he invited students to describe the legacy they hope to leave behind.

To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #DoNowLegacy

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can… and any contribution is most welcomed.

More Resources

KQED Art School video In the Studio with Ala Ebtekar
Ala Ebtekar grew up as a graffiti artist and studied traditional Persian art forms, later hybridizing these two interests to create work that is inspired by literary narratives, mythology, history, and hip hop culture.

KQED Spark video Ala Ebtekar
Spark caught up with Ebtekar as he created work for “Emergence” at the Richmond Art Center during the spring of 2006. In the exhibit, drawings based on vintage Iranian photographs of gymnasts and wrestlers are combined with images from hip hop culture in an exploration of heroic icons. In addition to drawings, the artist also creates installations and sculpture.

Ala Ebtekar’s website Cylindr.Us
Artist Ala Ebtekar will work with a number of collaborators to present, a night of events surrounding the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning. is a project in seven movements, each exploring another facet of the exhibition. The night examines why, more than 2,500 years after the Cyrus Cylinder’s creation, the object remains so culturally significant, and how the legendary figure Cyrus the Great holds such strong influence on ideas about modern civilization. The project finds inspiration from the collaboration between the artist and Bay Area students. After a docent tour, students worked with Ebtekar to respond to the question, “if you were the Master of the Universe,thinking about your legacy, what message would you inscribe on a cylinder like Cyrus’s?”

What Will Your Legacy Be? 8 March,2017Kristin Farr

  • 18cloc

    I don’t know what my legacy is at this point. I have a long journey ahead of me to figure out my legacy. All I know is my legacy will be just the right one for me.

    • Mrs. Green

      I’m glad you’re living in the moment and trust in a positive future!

    • Hyaden Beck

      I like your outlook on your legacy, not being concerned with the end of your life, and in contrast having confidence in the good things to come.

    • Brock Miller

      Your outlook is amazing. I like how you talk about just living your life to its fullest and not worrying about what your legacy will end up being because you know it will all fall into place.

  • 18kgoe

    Everyone is different. Do not judge people by what they look like on the outside. We look at people just for a second and think they must be stupid, lazy, mean, or more! Even though I am not sure what prints I want to leave on this earth, I want to let everyone know to not judge a book by its cover! Even though someone may not look like you, you have no idea what they’ve been through and if I only get one message to the people of the world, that is what it would be.

  • 18vmon

    If I was queen of the universe I would want everyone to live a healthy and happy life.

  • 18tmon

    Everyone wants to be a millionaire, but that’s not always what happens. For a great accomplishment I would like to be a well known psychiatrist, maybe write a book. I would simply like to be a great parent and a inspiration for my kids. I might not be rich or the president but I will leave a legacy behind for everyone who will know me.

  • 18jcol

    My legacy would be to have equality and fairness between the people so no one is made fun of because of their race or belief.

  • Pinya Colada

    A message I want to leave behind is to stay strong even when things get tough. There have been times in my life when I feel like just giving up, but when I look at some of my role models, I feel inspired to keep going. I want to be one of those people, someone who inspires people to keep going even when they feel like giving up.

  • KnowEl

    If I were queen of the universe what would my message, my legacy, be? What a question, right? How can I even begin to answer that? So many big problems that don’t have answers, as of yet that is. I was going to say that my message would be to treat everyone as an equal, but I’ve decided to change that. My message is this: treat everyone as themselves. No one is equal in this world; we are all ourselves. One of life’s unchangeable things is that you will always be yourself, no matter how much you try to be something different. Treat every person as different and unique, because that’s what they are: unequal and beautiful and themselves.

  • 18wlam

    My legacy would be that everyone would be equal have the right to marry who they want when they want. They shouldn’t have to move to a different state to live out their life dream. I am talking about gay people, gay marriage would be legal in every state. It will upset some people but these “some people” have gotten married to the person they want to spend their life with. Why do people care who marries who? EVERYONE has the right to marry who they want without being questioned or denied that right.
    I have put a link to a group of people who were protesting at a funeral for a dead soldier that was/is gay.

  • 18edau

    A message that I would want to leave behind is to not judge a book by its cover. I think that this is an important message because people often judge other by the way they look or the things they do, but they don’t take the time to actually talk to the person. They might think that a person is one way but they’re probably wrong because they don’t really know the person.

  • Nate knudsen

    @kqed I want to be remembered by my friends#donowlegacy

  • Alma Lancaster

    My legacy would be to be a great baseball player because baseball is my favorite sport

  • Hyaden Beck

    I would want my legacy to be about helping people, i would want to be known for the things that I did for others instead of myself. I think that service to others is something that deserves to be remembered, and improving the world is something that I think that every person on the planet should work towards. That would be what I want my legacy to be.

    • Hyaden Beck

      like Ghandi

      • Brock Miller

        This is deep. I agree very much about the service idea and the idea of being selfless rather than selfish. The picture is perfect too.

    • Andrew Young

      Our legacies are very similar. I aspire to be a man who was known for the changes I made in peoples’ lives as well, and to know that you are already starting the wonderful trend brings hope to so many lives. God Bless! Hope you do amazing things, so go and do it

    • Aaron Houin

      But does helping people solve the world epidemic of not having one ultimate burger? I think not

      • Hyaden Beck

        I helped Rohanld McDohnald make the big mac, so Whats you’re point?

  • Alma Lancaster

    I would want to be known as a famous baseball player because I love baseball.
    @Kqededspace #DoNowLegacy

  • Shelbie Hilton

    I want my legacy to be creating something new. Something that people will use everyday and will be thankful for my creation. I don’t want to be remembered as some low life nice chick like so many others in the world. I want to be different and unique. The reason why is life is too short to just be that one nice chick. I want to take life and live it.

    • Andrew Young

      That’s the spirit, you know it is very unique to find someone who has a goal in mind and wants to accomplish it by any means necessary, especially at this point in life. I hope you follow your goals because your creation will affect the lives of so many people I guarantee. Don’t stop believing!

  • sean.leonard

    My legacy would be in the form of creating art that revolutionizes the entire concept. I want my legacy to be like that of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vincent Van Gogh, MC Escher, etc. I want my legacy to live on through the art I would make. That is my Dream.

    • Spencer Uyhelji

      I like your idea; art forms could be made through the way something is designed on the atomic scale, if someone knew how to ‘print’ on that scale already.

  • Alis M.

    I think it’s hard to know exactly what type of legacy one will leave behind. I don’t have something world-changing to offer at the moment, however; I know that leaving a mark doesn’t have to be world-wide. At this point in time, I see myself being remembered through memories with family and friends.

    • Hyaden Beck

      Good point, one’s own perspective of their own self is much different than other people’s perspective of you.

  • Alma Lancaster

    @18cloc I agree because my life can change so fast through out the years.

    @Kqededspace #DoNowLegacy

  • asdfasdf

    i love pie so much, that i will die for it

    • Lane

      Well that is great to be known for.

  • Daniel

    I cannot say what my legacy would be. I would hope it would be something to do with my personality. The thing is I cannot see what my personality is. I have ideas of what I am to other people, but only other people know for fact who or what I am.

  • Owen Manns

    I’d like to go down as the best Beat Boxing King in the Universe. Known for being able to throw down the dopest beats at any moment. I hope to beatbox for one of Marshal Mathers freestyles, and maybe star in the 16th Mile. Ill make the world a better place by giving them pleasurable tunes to listen to with my mouth.

  • Kyle Williams

    I don’t want to aspire to figuring out something that could make something more convenient for others, not something that tastes good, nothing for the wants of people. I would really like to either make a positive impact or make something that will help a lot of people who struggle day to day, maybe like a cure for cancer. I want to live my life to it’s fullest potential. Making everyday a legacy that even one person could look greatly upon. As long as I help others, I feel as if I am expanding my legacy. Note, this is not something for personal gain. I don’t care what happens to me, compared to those life’s that I could change for the better!

    • Faith Colling

      I am glad that your goal is not focused on yourself. Most of our joy in life comes from our time and what we share with others. You will have an awesome legacy and future I am already sure of that from what you’ve shown me this year.

  • Ben

    This article sounds like it explains the idea of critiquing and sharing ideas about other people’s artwork. The article shows the good things about critiquing and how using it can help artwork.

  • Aaron Houin

    Who would want any legacy other than a gigantic, forty foot tall sculpture of a tender, juicy burger. Obviously it would be a reference to the ultimate burger that I created as queen of the universe, the megasuperwonderfulmagicconservativedelicious burger. A burger containing every delicious food know to man (and alien at that time), and only three thousand calories! Also it will contain two Entire cows, (one earth cow and one space cow, as they have more tender meat). There will of course be a dessert, breakfast, and celebratory variant. Any who ask for a vegetarian variant will be asked to not eat, ever again. So obviously my legacy will be the building size statue of my megasuperwonderfulmagicconservativedelicious burger that grazes the clouds and towers over all my citizens and minion, reminding them how small and useless they are compared to the megasuperwonderfulmagicconservativedelicious burger. The megasuperwonderfulmagicconservativedelicious burger rules. the megasuperwonderfulmagicconservativedelicious burger is life.

    • Daniel

      I am both confused and astounded.

    • Aaron Hall

      That sounds like the greatest burger in burger history.

    • Spencer Uyhelji

      I hate burgers.

    • Quentin

      The megasuperwonderfulmagicconservativedelicious burger sounds like a very delicious burger, but yet im not sure what it really is going to accomplish.

    • Lane

      That burger sounds like a heart attack on a bun.

  • Cesar Aguilar

    I would like to leave a very positive legacy. One that would inspire people from all ages to help the world become a better place.

    • Fabian Arias

      I like that you want to leave a good idea on the legacy you would want to leave, but how would you do that?

  • Cole Reinhold

    Well, if I was the king of the universe, I’d probably leave behind a legacy that involves me somehow being able to control everyone everywhere, which I think would be a pretty good legacy. Not to mention that I’d probably have the knowledge of the universe, and use it to live forever so I would never leave anything behind.

    • Wesley Seidelmann

      I like the idea, I just feel like people would resent you because of the power that you wielded. Where as it’s good to be knowledgeable, it’s also dangerous to be all knowing. There’s information out there that could make somebody go insane, even crazy. Also to be able to control everyone everywhere would be far too intense. The amount of willpower you would need would be ridiculous but if you achieved it, I guess you deserve everyone to bow to your every whim.

    • Arthur Clemons

      “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” That is a quotes from John Steinback. Though you would be extremely intelligent, and have the world at your disposal, you will always have that nagging fear in the back of your mind that it could all end. So then you take drastic measures to make sure it doesn’t and so forth. You forget that what you’re doing is for you, not for the people. Then like Wesley said people would resent you and that fear of losing the power isn’t fear, but the future.

  • Dakota Brooke

    I would want my legacy to be that I made the world a better place. I wouldn’t be able to make it perfect but there are changes that I would make right away to make the world more peaceful.

  • john

    i want my legacy to be taco thursdays. i dream of a world where everybody can sit down and enjoy a good taco on thursdays. there are people in this world who live in poverty and i believe that a taco once a week could possible make a small change and maybe make somebody’s day a little better.

    • Isaac Scarborough

      That is truly a caring legacy. Though i am not quite sure on to how this could be accomplished. it is a valiant effort, and I believe it’s the intent to do so that makes it count. Within this legacy, it shows that you have concern for others, and that’s makes it a superb legacy.

    • Dakota Brooke

      How about Taco T days, on Tuesday and Thursday! That would leave a legacy

  • Quentin

    I would want other people to learn from the mistakes that we have all made in the past. It seems that some of the things that are going on in todays society are going unnoticed. Our younger generation is making silly mistakes and were leaving all of our problems behind to have the next generation after us to fix up what we made. In my opinion it seems a bit unfair. I just want people to take action and realize that some things we do here aren’t going to work. That is my vision on the world today. i think it is slowly falling apart.

  • Arthur Clemons

    I would definitely balance out the education system all around the world. Without knowledge we can’t improve our own world let alone other habitable planets.

    • Cole Reinhold

      I like your ideas, but I mean, if you were the ruler of the world you could probably do more then that faster, but then again an educational system that actually helped people all around the world would probably solve most of the issues.

      • Arthur Clemons

        I wouldn’t have the whole burden of doing it, I am assuming even the ruler what have his own limits.

  • Clay

    I want my legacy to involve the return of the American Spirit. There was a time in our history, Reagan’s presidency, where people were proud to be American. Everyone was bonded under one feeling of patriotism. If you look at our country now, we are divided. Half of the population hates America, a quarter couldn’t care less, an eighth have a misconstrued concept of what it means to be free. But there is the rest. The small portion that understands what it means to be American, and aren’t ashamed of our country and our beliefs. My legacy would be to bring this back. To bring back what it means to be American.

  • Aaron Hall

    My legacy is to discover an alien race and teach them the ways of being a rebellious teenager. To start out we’d go skateboarding. I’ll introduce them to pizza because pizza is the greatest on Earth to this day. Then we’ll go throughout the city terrorizing people and vandalizing stuff like rebellious teenagers are suppose to do. Once we’re finished with that we’ll hit up Taco Bell. After that they’ll take me to their planet in their spaceship where I discover that every alien on their planet is actually a replica (in alien form) of each of us humans. And then I’ll write a book, produce/direct a movie, and create a cartoon about the adventure. That’s my legacy.

  • Monica Figueroa

    My legacy would be something that people will always remember me my.

  • Isaac Scarborough

    My legacy would be to make a difference in some way. Whether it through helping others or perhaps creating a unique piece of art that captivates others. Hopefully, I would like to achieve this legacy in some way. And because of my actions and the way I treat people, combined with artwork I can help the world out a little.

    • Clay

      This is nice. It would be nice to make a difference and improve other people’s lives.

  • Wesley Seidelmann

    I would want my legacy to be reflected in my faith. How my entire life was influenced by God and how each and every step I took was along the path with Him. Through my actions, I was able to change the lives of other people and bring about some sense of peace and reassurance to others.

  • Lane

    I want to be remembered for being myself and not letting anyone change that.

  • Andrew J Shelton

    I want my legacy to be helping as many people as possible throughout life. Others may want something big, but you never know what helping someone means for them or what it could do for them. It’s a legacy that some people may not care about, but you know what you’ve done.



Kristin Farr

Kristin Farr is KQED's Arts Education Manager. She is the creator and producer of the Emmy Award-winning video series, Art School, which brings audiences into artists' studios to learn about contemporary art, and engages learners with ideas for new ways to get creative. She is also an artist and a contributing editor for Juxtapoz Magazine.

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