Slow Art Day 2017 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Host Rachel Massey at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park writes of their Slow Art Day 2017 experience,

“YSP launched Mindful Moments on Slow Art Day, inviting 10 people to a private one hour viewing of Tony Cragg’s A Rare Category of Objects. Participants were invited to focus their attention on five specially selected sculptures and given cards with guidance and suggestions for mindful viewing – they were encouraged to close their eyes on arrival and before departing from each art work, allowing time for the experience to settle, perhaps noticing sensations in their body to help ground them in the moment.

Invitations for ways to view the work included, “Notice the edges of the piece. Take time to trace the edges with your eyes. Move very close to the piece and look slowly. Move further away – what do you see now?”

The atmosphere in the gallery was tranquil, yet there was a sense of intent focus and quiet energy. People moved reverentially around the space, but felt comfortable to lie on the floor, crawl around and under sculptures, move their bodies in response to the shapes.

This was followed with a delicious breakfast of tea coffee and pastries in the restaurant and conversation about the experience.”

Visitor feedback:

“Slow Art Day at YSP was truly the best way to start the weekend. We’re spending the day here, and we will do it differently after that.”

“If I’d gone on a normal visit I wouldn’t have even looked at that sculpture. Now I feel a real connection to it and it’s my favourite one.”

“All my ideas about the work changed as I looked at it longer.”

“A great privilege to have this private experience with a sculpture.”

Slow Art Day 2017 in Turku, Finland

Host Pauliina Nyqvist of the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art in Turku, Finland writes of their Slow Art Day 2017 experience:

“Our Slow Art Day went well, even though there was only few attendants. We took a close look at a small selection of sculptures by iconic Finnish artist Wäinö Aaltonen and had some eye-opening discussions. We added our own touch to the Slow Art Day program by giving the option to draw the sculptures while looking. That appeared to be a very good idea.”

Works by Wäinö Aaltonen highlighted in Slow Art Day 2017 at the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art.

Slow Art Day at the Butler Institute of American Art

Host Maggie Kamenitsa at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, writes:

We just wrapped up our first Slow Art Day—it was great! Our new docent class did a great job as they took several guests around to discuss the works of art. So many people left saying, “I would have never noticed that before,” or “I really enjoyed just taking my time.”  It was a hit and we so look forward to doing this every year!

Read more about the Butler Institute’s Slow Art Day event in local newspaper The Vindicator here.

Slow Art Day 2017 in Shanghai

Host Joan Lueth at FQ Projects gallery (and the host of this year’s only Slow Art Day event in China) writes of their slow looking experience this year:

Checking in from Shanghai after another fabulous Slow Art Day experience! We gathered in an old neighborhood of fast disappearing houses, due to rapid development, in a typical 1920s Shanghai lane house now converted into FQProjects gallery featuring emerging artists. Viewing the works of Shanghai artist Wang DaWei, we entered into his world of mixed media paintings reflecting on living on the outside of community in a new neighborhood. As one participant Raymond Bu said, ‘I feel a happiness about the art even though the people seem alone. I grew up in a house just like this until I was 15 years old. It brings nostalgia to me inside the house and inside the paintings’. Thanks for another terrific event in a special and unique location! Best of luck from Shanghai to all those waking up to their Slow Art Day!  Zhi Yi (best wishes!)

Slow lookers at FQProjects in Shanghai

Slow lookers at FQ Projects in Shanghai

Slow lookers at FQProjects in Shanghai

Slow lookers at FQ Projects in Shanghai

Host Report from Margaret McCue, Zürich, Switzerland

[In this series, we will be posting reports from Slow Art Day hosts around the world who held Slow Art Day events on April 27, 2013. This week, we are featuring the Slow Art Day event run by Margaret McCue, held at the Rietberg Museum in Zürich, Switzerland]

Dear fellow hosts,

I hosted an event at the Rietberg Museum in Zürich, Switzerland. The Rietberg is a “world art” museum, meaning non-European. Many participants said they especially appreciated the cross-cultural aspect.

Nearly everyone said they wished there would be more frequent Slow Art

The most difficult part was the discussion: I chose the museum’s cafe, which has only small tables that can’t be easily rearranged so we were divided into small groups of four. I had hoped we could eat and converse on the museum’s terrace, at tables that we could have moved around to accommodate whatever size turnout. However, this is Zürich, and it poured rain. So, I would do this part differently in the future.

I chose the five pieces for variety: big, small, simple, complex, colorful, monochromatic, painting, sculpture, ceramic, in different locations throughout the museum (which is in several small buildings) and no repeat of a culture. A few asked me whether there was a theme, and most did not realize or understand that I had chosen the art: they thought that (somehow!) the Slow Art Day organization itself chose the art at all locations. Several noted that they especially liked the variety, the moving around, and the freedom to just look at those pieces without feeling compelled to look at anything else.

I totally enjoyed hosting this event, and appreciate the Slow Art Day organization for making it possible for anyone to host. The participants were, for me, a fun combination of people I know personally and complete strangers who discovered it through Eventbrite. Most of all, I appreciate the concept: slow down and absorb what you see.

Thanks again to all who made this a world-wide event,

Slow Art, Fast City

Slow Art Fast City from Raw Footage Films on Vimeo.

Beyond slow looking we had no rules. We weren’t looking for anything, we didn’t have to like what we saw, there would be no wrong way to look or right way either.

See video coverage of founder Phil Terry’s 2013 Slow Art Day event embedded above from Raw Footage Films. Phil’s event took place at the Brooklyn Museum with each participant viewing five works. Each viewer was eager to view these hand-selected works and discuss the experience afterwards.

The group felt gratified knowing that “while our conversation was specific and personal,” 270+ venues across the world were having their own “attentive and unmediated” conversations about art. As the fast-paced antics of New York City beckoned at the close of the event, the participants left gratified with a new awakening to the benefits of slow looking.

Feeling inspired?
Don’t forget it’s never too early to sign up as a host or to participate in a 2014 venue near you.

Was your Slow Art Day event similarly invigorating? Share your experiences below in the comments!

Host Reports: Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth, Australia

[In this series, we will be posting reports from Slow Art Day hosts around the world who held Slow Art Day events on April 27, 2013. This week, we are featuring the Slow Art Day event run by Susan Way, held at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in Perth, Australia]

Hi Everyone,

Slow Art Day was celebrated at the Art Gallery of Western Australia by featuring four photographs from the Picturing New York: Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art exhibition. The day was a great success and started with 15 participants. As our Voluntary Gallery Guide, Alan Ruda, ushered visitors slowly around the exhibition more and more people gathered. By the second set of photographs there were easily 40 people participating. By the end of the tour there were between 60 and 70 people crowded around Michael Wesely’s 7 August 2001-7 June 2004 The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s An Eye at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The group had high energy and were very interested. In the end, Alan suggested the group break into smaller groups and go back to the photos that really interested them. Everyone was very happy with this and Alan spent another hour answering specific questions and listening to the keen observations visitors made about the artwork.

We had organised to take photographs as a small group retired to coffee and conversation in our Manhattan Lounge. However the sheer number of participants prevented this from happening – which is a positive in our eyes. Our day may not have gone exactly as we imagined it, nevertheless to quote Alan, “It was a heck of a lot of fun!”



Host Reports: Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin

[In this series, we will be posting reports from Slow Art Day hosts around the world who held Slow Art Day events on April 27, 2013. This week, we are featuring the Slow Art Day event run by Karen Barrett-Wilt, held at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin]

Hello from Madison WI!

Highlights of our first Slow Art Day included eating lunch outside (Spring is here!), 15 participants, and a great conversation. The conversation required very little facilitating from me. A couple of people had never been to the Chazen Museum of Art, but all were still very willing to talk about their experiences. We had a spirited conversation with a lot of respectful disagreement, which is one thing that I love about art – no one is wrong! I’d like to add my thanks to the organizers – you were incredibly efficient and responsive, and made it all so easy. Thank you!


Karen also included a couple of photographs of one of the pieces they viewed at their Slow Art Day, Beth Cavener Stichter’s L’Amante, 2012.

Stichter L'Amante 2

Stichter L'Amante 3

Host Reports: SNAP Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

[In this series, we will be posting reports from Slow Art Day hosts around the world who held Slow Art Day events on April 27, 2013. This week, we are featuring the Slow Art Day event run by blog manager Tori and her partner Chelsey from PrairieSeen, held at SNAP Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada]

Hello all!

Slow Art Day 2013 is sadly over, but we are looking forward to hosting again next year…

Our event (the first in Edmonton!) went very well. We had 12 participants signed up on Eventbrite (including the two hosts) and 18 people who joined the Facebook event. In total we ended up having 8 people altogether; a small group that worked well together in the small space that is SNAP Gallery.

group shot

In the nature of our blog/ website/ open platform whose mandate is to cultivate a discourse about local arts in Edmonton, we had a very informal Slow Art Day. Of course, we told the participants the premise of the event, but left them free to choose their own five works to look at (there are only two exhibition spaces at SNAP, with approximately 10 works in each). Participants thus looked at all of the works, but focused on their choices. We also had the chance to observe open studio at SNAP (which is a print-based gallery and studio), which was great; since printmaking is so technical it was interesting to see how the process works.

We had a really great discussion afterwards over lunch at a delicious local restaurant (of course!) where we talked about slow looking, the work in the exhibitions, arts education, art in Edmonton, working in galleries, going to galleries etc. We had great feedback, took a small album of photos, and hope to meet again in the future before the next Slow Art Day (hopefully with even more participants!)

Tori and Chelsey