Two days ago on Saturday, April 27 we celebrated Slow Art Day 2013 in 272 museums in 207 cites across six continents.
We – the volunteer team who runs Slow Art Day – have much to be thankful for.
I started Slow Art Day with four participants at the Museum of Modern Art in 2009. Four years later – and without any money invested at all – we have built a global movement with thousands of participants and hundreds of hosts.
How did Slow Art Day grow like this?
For me answering that question means acknowledging that we have just barely begun.
Even in the United States, with the largest economy in the world by far, only 23% of adults visit art museums each year. That means 77% stay away.
Why do so many people stay away from these important cultural institutions?
There are many varied and complex reasons but at Slow Art Day we believe that at least one reason is that many people do not feel welcome. This is true despite the genuine hard work and creativity that most museums put into welcoming the public.
I started Slow Art Day because I myself finally discovered that if I stood in front of a piece of art for an extended time that I saw much more and felt included in the art experience. Most importantly, I felt that way not because someone told me what to see or feel but because I included myself. If thousands, indeed millions, of people took the time to look slowly, then they might discover for themselves that they have the capacity to look at and participate fully in art.
The art on the walls and galleries of public institutions around the world is owned by all of humanity. This is our art. It is for us and by us. And Slow Art Day creates the possibility for millions of people to realize that simple but profound truth.
So, yes, we give thanks to the:
– 272 volunteer hosts around the world who created and ran their own powerful and unique events for Slow Art Day;
– 20 members of the global coordinating team, many of them art history college students, who brought their passion, creativity and energy to building Slow Art Day 2013;
– thousands of museums and galleries around the world who work so hard to make art available and whose staffs inspire us everyday;
– many thousands of artists who give their gifts to all of humanity;
– many, many thousands of people who took two hours on Saturday to look slowly and discover for themselves the joy of including themselves in this thing called art.
Founder, Slow Art Day