For their first Slow Art Day, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art (AKMA), in St Joseph, Missouri, invited visitors to slowly look at three works of art:
- Frederick Judd Waugh, “Ladies Having Tea,” 1890. Oil on canvas.
- Emily Dubowski, “Sunday Visit,” 1972. Acrylic on panel.
- Luis Jimenez, “Eagle and Snake II,” 2008. Lintograph.
The museum had planned for participants to look at these three works of art for 10 minutes each, then meet to discuss the experience for 45 minutes together with a docent. However, circumstances caused them to quickly change their strategy.
First, many of the volunteer docents decided to self-isolate due to the pandemic, so at the last minute Jill Carlson, Marketing & Communications Manager, and her partner decided to lead the event. Fortunately, Carlson had previously participated in a Slow Art Day at BOZAR in Brussels a few years ago. That experience had inspired her to design the event at AKMA and made it easier for her to jump in and host the day.
It also likely made it easier for her to contend with the second change: a group of prom-going teenagers and their families showed up. For this tuxedo- and ballgown-clad audience, Carlson redesigned Slow Art Day on the fly and ended up giving brief information and suggestions for slow looking in front of each artwork. And the teenagers loved it (and we know how hard it can be to engage teenagers).
We’ll also note that Carlson and her team did a good job marketing Slow Art Day. In addition to the museum’s calendar of events, they advertised on their Facebook and Instagram pages and generated coverage in two local news outlets – The Savannah Reporter and Flatland (perhaps this is how the prom goers ended up coming).
They also created a simple brochure directing participants to the three artworks (see below).
At Slow Art Day HQ we are really impressed with Carlson and her team’s commitment to Slow Art Day and to pivoting quickly at the last moment.
We look forward to what they come up with for Slow Art Day in 2022.
– Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl
For their 7th annual event, Ur Mara Museoa in Alkiza, Spain — which always creates one of the most innovative Slow Art Day extravaganzas in the world — invited local and international artists and performers to present art on the theme of nature and sustainability.
Their 2021 Slow Art Day featured performances and presentations by:
- Painters Idoia Iturri, Diana Vasina and Bea Gonzalez Rojo,
- Maria Giró Coll, a Catalan artist and cultural mediator, presented a sculpture by Jose Perez Ocaña, a Spanish artist who visited Alkiza in 1983
- Marionette artist Corrado Massaci (watch some of it in the video below)
The artists observed each other’s work, and shared opinions and reflections with the participants.
Below we provide photographs, details and videos about each of the performances, starting with the painter Idoia Iturri.
Idoia Iturri presented four art works, all created in 2021. Three of them form a trilogy named Pandemiaren Trilogia (Pandemic Trilogy). Haurtzaroa (Childhood), Maskara (Mask) and Duintasuna (Dignity). The fourth artwork is named Bizipoza (Joy of Life).
Diana Vasina presented four artworks created during the pandemic year, 2020-2021:
- Mirate Ojo (pantalla)
- MOVIMIENTO INTERMINABLE
- BIDEAN DENEAN BIDAIA
Beatriz González presented three art works from her TFG (final master’s thesis):
Maria Giró Coll, a Catalan artist and cultural mediator, presented a sculpture by Jose Perez Ocaña, a Spanish artist who visited Alkiza in 1983.
Following the event, Ur Mara Museoa created a 50-second video showing sequences of art pieces and marionettes, as well as museum curators, artists, performers, and visitors interacting with one another (all at a safe distance and wearing face masks). We love the spirit and warmth that Ur Mara Museoa always brings to their daylong Slow Art Day festival.
35 people attended the event, which was promoted both on the museum’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. They received many likes on their IG posts. Read (in Basque) a great article about the event by the local newspaper.
Again, we at Slow Art Day HQ always look forward to what Ur Mara Museoa produces, and we hope to finally visit the museum next year, when we plan a European summer tour of Slow Art Day sites.
And we can’t wait to see what Ur Mara Museoa comes up with for 2022.
Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl
For their first official Slow Art Day, Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton, New Jersey, hosted nearly 1,000 partipants and provided them with meditative prompts to use while slow-viewing the sculptures.
On April 10, all visitors were encouraged to do a slow looking activity using the following instructions created by Libby Vieira da Cunha, Manager of Group Visit and School Programs at Grounds For Sculpture:
1) Pick any sculpture on the grounds that interests you
2) Challenge yourself to look at the sculpture for 5 minutes – set a timer and allow yourself to slow down
3) While taking a slow look, ask yourself the following questions:
- Take a deep breath. Walk around the sculpture and let your eyes move slowly around the artwork – from where it touches the ground all the way up to the sky.
- What do you notice? Make three observations based on what you noticed.
- Think of a story or experience this sculpture reminds you of – anything that comes to mind.
- Think of a friend that you want to share this sculpture with, why does this person come to mind?
- What do you notice about the sculpture now that you did not see at first glance? How does this change your impression of the sculpture?
- If you’re with others share your responses with each other. Did they have similar or different thoughts on the sculpture?
- If you’re up for the Slow Art Day challenge, then repeat this exercise with two other sculptures
- What new question might you pose for slow looking? Add it to your next slow look.
Throughout the day, facilitators also walked between different groups, inviting them to discuss the artwork ‘Dorian’ by artist Bruce Beasley (pictured below).
Ahead of the event, it was advertised on Facebook and Instagram, receiving more than 600 likes from the public. The in-person activity was very well received, and experienced by a total of 952 visitors from across the country – from Arizona, California, Minnesota, and many states along the east coast.
Participants shared that they found the experience fun, stimulating, reflective, special, interesting, insightful, and meditative:
“The fact that you can see it (the artwork) from so many different perspectives makes it more beautiful.”Slow Art Day Participant
“I felt a closer bond to my friend doing it as we expressed our experiences”Slow Art Day Participant’s quote
“Allows for seeing hidden beauty”Participant’s quote
“I was able to reflect and learn something new”Slow Art Day Participant’s quote
At Slow Art Day HQ, we were excited to see Grounds for Sculpture bring out nearly 1,000 people for their first annual event. We also appreciated GFS’ enthusiasm, creativity and attention to detail. And their poster (pictured above) is terrific.
We can’t wait to see what they come up with for their second Slow Art Day in 2022.
Johanna, Jessica, and Ashley