It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Henry David Thoreau
Slow Art Day is a global event with a simple mission: help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art.
When people look slowly at a piece of art they make discoveries.
The most important discovery they make is that they can see and experience art without an expert (or expertise).
And that’s an exciting discovery. It unlocks passion and creativity and helps to create more art lovers.
How does it work?
One day each year – April 4 in 2020 – people all over the world visit local museums and galleries to look at art slowly. Participants look at five works of art for 10 minutes each and then meet together over lunch to talk about their experience. That’s it. Simple by design, the goal is to focus on the art and the art of seeing.
In fact, Slow Art Day works best when people look at the art on their own slowly and then meet up to discuss the experience (though some hosts decide to do the discussion right in the gallery).
This 2010 ARTNews feature article, Slow Down You Look Too Fast, provides an excellent overview of Slow Art Day.
You can also read the BBC’s 2019 article, Slow Art – It Will ‘Blow Your Mind.’
How does an institution get involved?
Staff members at museums, galleries, or other art venues around the globe raise their hands (and register on this site) to host a Slow Art Day event. The host is responsible for organizing their individual Slow Art Day event. The Slow Art Day team provides the tools and support for hosts to run their own events.
By the numbers
– Over 1,400 individual Slow Art Day events have taken place since its official launch in 2010
– Slow Art Day events have taken place on all seven continents, including Antarctica
– 700 venues (museums, galleries, artist studios, sculpture parks, public art sites, etc.) have hosted Slow Art Day events
Learn more about how Slow Art Day’s history and how it got its start here.
Slow Art Day 2019 Annual Report
Check out the Slow Art Day 2019 Annual Report (PDF – 14MB) with host summaries from around the world to get a sense of what hosts organized, and maybe get some inspiration for the design of your own Slow Art Day.
Participants love Slow Art Day
Feedback on this simple event has been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a sample:
“I loved taking the time to just “be” with the work, particularly pieces I might otherwise walk by.”
“It was a new and valuable way to SEE the art.”
“It was nice that all we had to do was to take our time looking at art. What a great way to spend a few hours. Then, to make it even better, we had the opportunity to discuss what we saw and think about it together with some thoughtful people over a meal. What is there not to like about that?”
“A much better way of doing the art museum than the usual idle ramble. Discussion afterwards was fun, interesting, informative, eye-opening. Look forward to doing it again soon.”
“The experience exceeded every expectation.”
“It gave me a new framework for looking at art on my own. But then it also provided the opportunity to discuss my perceptions with others who had done the same thing. Brilliant!”
Slow Art Day 2020 is Saturday, April 4, in museums and galleries on every continent. Join us and experience art differently.
We extend a special thank you to our hosts on every continent. Without them, Slow Art Day would not be possible.