Slow Art Day 2015: The Eyes Have It in Napa, California

April 30th, 2015

Three-time Slow Art Day host museum, the di Rosa in Napa, California, just sent this report on their event this year.

The most exciting part of this update is that they are considering adding a monthly Slow Art session to their museum programming. Our mission with Slow Art Day is not only to get great participation on the annual day each year, but also to encourage more museums and galleries to incorporate regular programming throughout the year.

- Phil

For the third year, the di Rosa (Napa, CA; www.dirosaart.org) participated in Slow Art Day. Again this year, the group of participants was intimate — quality trumps quantity! — giving everyone the opportunity to share observations afterward. As in previous years, we chose a mix of work — a large ceramic sculpture, two paintings, a three-dimensional work on canvas, and a kinetic sculpture. After viewing these works, we had a picnic lunch on property and a lively, energized discussion of what we had seen by looking slowly.

After last year, we thought about customizing our approach. Visitors had felt that the recommended 10 minutes of slow looking without discussing in front of the works made it difficult to recall precisely what they had observed.  As a result, we considered shortening the time spent to 7 minutes looking and then adding 3 minutes discussing in front of each work.

Ultimately, we went in yet a different direction. We adhered to the recommended 10-minute slow looking timeframe. And we added color photocopies of the five works to aid our lunchtime discussion. Those low-tech visual aids made all the difference. Participants could easily recall elements they had seen, talk about specific features of each work (color, texture, composition, etc), and share insights. And because the group included regular museum goers — even an art teacher — they had no difficulty verbalizing. At the end, participants and docents alike rated Slow Art Day 2015 a “10.” 

We’re now considering a monthly Slow Art Experience as a regular feature of our customized tours. And that would be in addition to participating in Slow Art Day 2016. In other words, di Rosa loves Slow Art Day! 

Michael McCauley
Dave Hight
co-docents for Slow Art Day 2015

Slow Art Day 2015 – in 200+ museums and galleries

April 12th, 2015

Slow Art Day 2015 was a great success.

On Saturday, April 11, 2015, we had 200+ venues around the world – from Shanghai to Ghana, from Paris to Brooklyn, from a site in Russia to the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama.

View photos, write-ups, articles, and quotes from attendees here:

– Twitter – https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=slowartday2015
– Instagram – search for hashtag “slowartday”
– Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SlowArtDay/posts_to_page
– Google News – https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=slow+art+day&tbm=nws

Slow Art Day 2016 is Saturday, April 9, 2016.

We have a number of efforts and initiatives that we work on year-round. If you are interested in volunteering – or interning – please get in touch with us right away. We’d love your help!

– Phil Terry and the Slow Art Day team

The Art of Observation – in Art & Medicine

April 5th, 2015

Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina. When Ann Grimaldi, curator of education at the Weatherspoon Art Museum and one of our 2015 global hosts, learned about Slow Art Day a few years ago, she liked its simplicity, its focus on just looking, and its connection to the “Art of Seeing” program that she runs.

“The Art of Seeing” brings together students from nursing, kinesiology, nutrition, and physical therapy to learn observation skills that can help them become better healers. Among the techniques Ann teaches: simple looking, breathing, taking it all in, not interpreting, and slowing down.

For Slow Art Day this year, Ann will borrow from her program to help participants experience a “contemplative looking practice” by pausing, observing, and reflecting. She has chosen a variety of artworks from the Weatherspoon’s contemporary collection. Often contemporary art can be challenging, Ann says, noting its “ambiguity.” She feels that learning to spend time with something that may make us uncomfortable is a skill that is important for everyone, not just her students. And we at Slow Art Day agree – in fact, we’ve found that contemporary art can be a terrific choice for slow looking.

Ann adds she’s also asked Weatherspoon docents to be involved with Slow Art Day. Interestingly, they will be acting both as timekeepers and as moderators for the discussions that follow the slow viewing.

Hoping that some of the 200 community members and students interested in Slow Food and sustainability who meet at the Weatherspoon monthly will join other participations for another “slow” experience, she’s looking forward to a good Slow Art Day in Greensboro at the Weatherspoon Art Museum.

Links & Info:
Weatherspoon Art Museum – http://weatherspoon.uncg.edu
Ann Grimaldi Curator of Education | Weatherspoon Art Museum The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

– written by Linda Wiggen Kraft, Veteran Slow Art Day Host

Making time for slower digital experiences in museums

January 29th, 2015

Here at Slow Art Day we focus on how visitors engage with physical works of art – how paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other media are perceived, considered, and experienced by the viewer. But in our digital age, museums are increasingly trying to deliver “snackable” digital content – short bursts of entertaining and enlightening information delivered through social media initiatives or interactive installations. In an article published by The Guardian earlier this week, Danny Birchall, Digital Manager at London’s Wellcome Collection, eloquently makes the case that digital or virtual engagements with artworks allow for the same unhurried, slow potential as physical interactions. Birchall writes, “[…] if museums can deliver snacks, why not three-course meals? Is there space in museums for slower and longer digital experiences for audiences to savour and enjoy?” Birchall uses the Wellcome Collection’s Mindcraft, an immersive and interactive tool that describes the history of hypnotism over the course of a six-chapter digital story, as a case study for his article. However, even the relatively long-form (for the digital realm) Mindcraft is only about 15 minutes long – a fraction of the length of your typical Slow Art Day event. Is this enough to ensure visitors’ full engagement with digital content? Can museums offer an immersive, engaging digital experience that avoids superficiality and truly deepens the visitor’s experience of a work of art without relying on gimmicks?

Read the article “Museums should make time for slower digital experiences” here and tell us your thoughts!

The starting point of the Wellcome Collection's "Mindcraft" story-telling experience, a virtual means of engaging the museum's audience with its collection.

The starting point of the Wellcome Collection’s “Mindcraft” story-telling experience, a virtual means of engaging the museum’s audience with its collection.