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Slow Art Day News

“Tell Me Stories”: Slow Art Day at Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio

July 18th, 2024

This year the city-wide Slow Art Day phenomenon continued in Bloomington, Illinois, with 20(!) participating museums and art galleries. And, for the third year running, Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio participated.

For their contribution to the citywide Slow Art Day, Angel Ambrose featured “Tell Me Stories”, a painting that had been on long-term loan at Illinois State University’s Alumni Center on Michigan Avenue in Downtown Chicago.

Angel Ambrose, “Tell Me Stories”. Over 3 1/2’ x 4 1/2’.

On Slow Art Day, Angel invited visitors of all ages to the studio gallery to take a slow look and hear about the stories behind the painting between 10 AM – 2 PM.

Angel welcomed all participants and asked them to take 3-5 minutes or more to contemplate “Tell Me Stories” or another artwork using some of the following prompts for slow looking.

She came up with some good prompts, as you see below.

—- Prompts

For your head (objective thought/intellect) you can consider any of the following:

  • What did you see?
  • What decisions did you notice that Angel made in her painting—line, color, texture, form, repetition, contrast, etc?
  • Was there a color scheme/theme apparent?
  • Notice the paint—can you see individual brushstrokes, or a smooth surface, or perhaps another tool was used to apply the paint?
  • How was movement used in the artwork?
  • Was the piece representational, abstracted, or somewhere between? Why do you think Angel chose this format?

For your heart (feelings/emotions), consider the following:

  • How did you feel when you looked at the work?
  • Did the colors evoke any emotions?
  • What did these feelings make you think about?
  • Did your mood change after looking at the artwork?
  • Did you experience any personal significance to the piece?

Artist Angel Ambrose and her “Management of Time” triptych at Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio.

During the day, visitors could also visit any of the 20 Bloomington Slow Art Day locations free of charge. The day concluded with a closing reception at The Hangar Art Co. from 2 – 4 PM for participants from all venues.

The Eaton Gallery was the first to host a Slow Art Day in Bloomington. In 2020 at the height of the pandemic, they organized a walk up/drive by exhibition. Then in 2022 Eaton and other Bloomington galleries pioneered hosting a city-wide Slow Art Day – and Angel Ambrose was in that original group.

At Slow Art Day HQ we have eagerly followed the growth of Slow Art Day in Bloomington along Route 66. We (unsurprisingly) like to take things slow, but the fast spread of the citywide movement in Bloomington (and now around the world) both calms and excites us.

We can’t wait to see what Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio comes up with for Bloomington’s citywide Slow Art Day in 2025.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

P.S. Stay up to date with events at Angel Ambrose Fine Art Studio via their Facebook page.

P.P.S. We are hearing rumors that the state of Illinois might host a *statewide* Slow Art Day in 2025. Stay tuned.

Revelatory Slow Art Day at Maryhill Museum of Art

July 8th, 2024

For their fourth Slow Art Day, Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington, invited visitors to join their Curator of Education, Sorcha Meek Paul, in a lively and ‘revelatory’ slow looking session focused on two paintings in the museum’s 2024 exhibition “Wallula to the Sea”, curated by Steve Grafe.

The two paintings were:

  • ‘Journey’ by Chinook artist Greg A. Robinson
  • ‘Wallula to the Sea’, a quadriptych, by Erik Sandgren

Sorcha Meek Paul presenting Erik Sandgren’s artwork ‘Wallula to the Sea’ for Slow Art Day, 2024.

Sorcha Meek Paul with a participant, engaging with Erik Sandgren’s artwork ‘Wallula to the Sea’ for Slow Art Day, 2024.

Slow looking at ‘Wallula to the Sea’ for Slow Art Day, 2024.

Slow looking at Chinook artist Greg A. Robinson’s artwork, titled ‘Journey’, for Slow Art Day, 2024.

Ahead of Slow Art Day, the event was advertised via the museum’s website, Instagram and Facebook accounts. Sorcha also shared a post on her personal Instagram account. On the day itself, visitors responded to the invitation for “lively discussion” and participated in an interactive session with Sorcha (as we can see in the photos).

On the museum’s website, two lines in the description of the event caught our attention whilst writing this report – they point to the ‘revelatory’ nature of their Slow Art Day:

Looking creates dialogue which then reveals details, understanding, and life-long skills for looking at and connecting with art and art museums. No experience necessary.

Maryhill Museum of Art website (invitation to the Slow Art Day event)

This sums up the principle of Slow Art Day in a beautiful way. Thank you, Maryhill Museum of Art for these words, and for your great event.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with for Slow Art Day 2025.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

P.S. Stay up to date with all events at the Maryhill Museum of Art via their social media: @maryhillmuseumofart

Boston Athenaeum Hosts First Slow Art Day

June 25th, 2024

For their first Slow Art Day, Boston Athenaeum in Massachusetts invited participants to join one of four 30-minute slow looking and discussion sessions. (Note: As well as being a museum and cultural center, the Athenaeum is also one of America’s oldest member supported libraries.)

Slow Art Day participants being led in discussion by a docent. Photo by Fritz Holznagel.

The slow looking sessions were led by volunteer docents as well as the children’s librarian. The docents selected the works of art for slow looking, including works by Bradley Phillips, Allan Rohan Crite, and Polly (Ethel) Thayer.

The Empire City, 1987. Bradley Phillips (American, 1929–1991).

Marble Players, 1938. Allan Rohan Crite (American, 1910–2007).

Self Portrait, 1943. Polly (Ethel) Thayer (1904–2006).
Donald Starr, 1935. Polly (Ethel) Thayer (1904–2006).

Visitors to the Athenaeum who didn’t participate in the scheduled slow looking sessions were offered a slow looking hand-out (attached below), and were invited to select a piece of art for their own slow looking. They also received a blank piece of paper, clipboard and pencil to help them sketch and/or list what they were noticing.

We are so glad to welcome the Boston Athenaeum to the global slow looking movement and are eager to see what design they come up with for Slow Art Day 2025.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl.

PS. You can find details of other events at the Boston Athenaeum via their Instagram or Facebook page.

Slow Music Comes to Antwerp

June 22nd, 2024

Armond Storck, the Scriptor at Sint-Pauluskerk (St. Paul’s Church) in Antwerp, who has spearheaded the Slow Art Day movement in churches, is now planning, with his colleagues, a 12 hour slow music concert on July 27, 2024.

First, more about Storck’s support for Slow Art Day.

Storck and his colleagues have hosted seven previous Slow Art Day events and they passionately believe that churches are a natural home for Slow Art Day. “Not only are many churches brimming with works of art, but the locations themselves naturally invite reflection. The slow, sensory perception is a way to arrive at the (religious) meaning of a work of art. Time runs almost noticeably slower in our churches than in the world outside,” said Storck.

As a result of Storck’s efforts to evangelize Slow Art Day to other churches, this year there were four churches in Antwerp participating, each of which had gone through preparation and training coordinated by an organization called the Tourism Pastoral and Monumental Churches Antwerp.

Now back to his plans for slow music.

On July 27, titular-organist Bart Rodyns will play Erik Satie’s Vexations for 12 hours (6 a.m.-6 p.m.) at five different locations throughout St. Paul’s Church in Antwerp.

Interestingly, this piece of music from 1893 has only 18 notes, divided into 3 lines, which are repeated 840 times according to an arithmetic scheme. Spending the day listening to this should be meditative and hypnotic, perhaps revelatory.

Here’s how it will work:
– 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Bart will play the harmonium in the high choir
– 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Bart will play the piano in ‘t Schooltje during breakfast
– 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants will hear Bart on the electric piano in the Calvary
– 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Bart will play the historic organ in the church
– 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Finally, Bart will finish his marathon in the crypt on a chest organ

The amazing historic organ, pictured below, features three manuals, a pedal board, seventy-four registers, and 3,303 pipes. Oh my.

Sint-Pauluskerk historic organ – photo copyright Reinhard

And here is a photo of Bart Rodyns in his “Satie” outfit (i.e., dressed like the composer). Love that Victorian-era purple/blue long-tailed double-breasted coat and floral (or paisley?) waistcoat. And the yellow trousers? Fantastic. The glasses add a modern touch.

Food will be available: Breakfast in the morning, then starting in the afternoon snacks, beer and wine at “democratic prices.”

If you are in Antwerp, go.

If you are not, then consider traveling for this extraordinary slow musical experience.

– Phyl

P.S. For more information, consult this article (it’s in Dutch so use Google to translate if you need it in English or another language).