For their sixth Slow Art Day, the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, GA, hosted an in-person slow looking and drawing session.
The session was originally planned as an outdoor sculpture viewing, but the rain had other plans and the event was hosted inside the museum. The program was created by Sage Kincaid, Associate Curator of Education, who has a strong passion for all things Slow Art.
On April 10, participants were invited to look slowly at three works of art at the museum:
- Steinunn Thorarinsdottir’s sculpture ‘Tide’ (2012)
- Nick Cave’s sculpture “Soundsuit” (2017)
- Joan Mitchell’s painting “Close” (1972)
After looking at the art pieces, Katie Landers, an Education Department Intern at the museum, led separate slow looking and drawing activities.
Participants were first encouraged to think about their physical relationship to the sculpture by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Next, they investigated color and color palettes by looking at Joan Mitchell’s painting. Finally, they made a blind contour and continuous line drawing of Nick Cave’s sculpture. To end the day, all participants made abstract color collages together. The event was well received by a dedicated group of 10, who spent several hours together for an immersive experience on Slow Art Day.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the integrated multi-sensory approach that the Georgia Museum of Art took to designing this year’s event. While looking at something closely lets us see in new ways, slow drawing takes that process even further and allows attendees to connect looking, talking and making. And that creates the possibility to be present — with art, with ourselves, and with others.
We look forwad to what the Georgia Museum of Art comes up with for their 7th Slow Art Day in 2022.
-Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl
The session was led by Caroline Byrd, Education Coordinator at the Frye Museum. Visitors joining the event on April 10 were invited to focus on two artworks:
- An untitled oil painting by Norwegian artist Hans Dahl (1849-1937)
- Clouds and Windblown Hay by Charles Burchfield (1863-1967).
You can view videos featuring discussion of both artworks on the Museum’s Frye From Home blog:
The theme of spring was highlighted in two senses: through the season itself, portrayed in the paintings, and the concept of fresh beginnings.
Combining prompts for close looking and conversation, the discussion was designed to create a personal connection with the artworks while building a community among participants. Using the prompts, participants uncovered visual clues and provided their own ideas and insights to the discussion. Those that did not feel comfortable joining the group discussion were encouraged to write down or sketch their responses.
Participants were invited to continue exploring the artworks by visiting the Frye’s online collection database or by diving into a reading list provided by the King County Library System.
The event was attended by 25 participants, ranging in age from teens to older adults. Their feedback was positive.
“The class was interesting and enriching. It challenged me to look at the art in different ways. Appreciated the opportunity for people to share their thoughts and observations. What a great mental and visual break!! Thank you!” –
Caroline Byrd also found the event rewarding. We include her reflection on the event below.
Even I, as the facilitator, found new perspectives I had never thought about before! Thank you, as always, for allowing the Frye to be part of global Slow Art Day! Especially in these uncertain times, we look forward to the opportunity to slow down, look closely, and spend some time with a work of art.Caroline Byrd, Education Coordinator, Frye Art Museum
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the enthusiasm for slow looking that shows in every aspect of the event organized by Caroline Byrd. We want to thank Caroline and the Frye for being once again part of our global event and we are already excited about seeing what they come up with for 2022.
-Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl
For their fourth Slow Art Day, the MASS MoCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), in North Adams, Massachusetts, produced a self-guide leaflet for in-person visitors and organized a virtual event for participants at home.
For visitors to MASS MoCA on April 10th, the museum offered a Slow Art Day Self-Guided Itinerary that challenged visitors to take an unhurried look at MASS MoCA’s exhibitions.
Before starting their tour, visitors were invited to try a “forest bath” outside the museum. Below are the guidelines from the leaflet:
“Start your slow experience by putting your phone away; plan on going back through the museum after this tour to take photos. Settle into being at the museum by taking in a few deep breaths. As you do so, observe any tensions in your body and release them. Put on hold any distracting thoughts like ‘I have to see everything!’ or ‘What is this place?’ Next, take a few moments to engage in a forest bath to increase relaxation and awareness.
First, take 3–4 deep breaths in/out.
Stand noticing your feet touching the ground.
Look up to enjoy the sky; feel the light on your face.
Walk around slowly and take notice of the ground.
Notice the trees above, then the trees in the distance.
Notice and feel sunlight streaming through the trees and take in the smell.
If you are feeling ambitious, take a moment to move your body to mimic the
trees above. What would it be like to contort yourself the way these trees have changed to grow upside down? (One option could be to try the yoga tree and mountain poses).”
The leaflet featured five artworks from the museum, each accompanied by slow looking prompts:
1. TREE LOGIC. Natalie Jeremijenko.
2. HOW TO MOVE A LANDSCAPE. Blane De St. Croix.
3. IN THE LIGHT OF A SHADOW. Glenn Kaino.
4. DISSOLVE James Turrell.
5. IN HARMONICITY, THE TONAL WALKWAY. Julianne Swartz.
After completing the tour, participants were encouraged to discuss their observations with friends and family, especially if visiting in a group.
For the online event, the museum launched virtual material as part of “MASS MoCA From Home.” Resources included two art “how-to” videos, featuring projects that focused on being present with the art-making process. Watch the videos below and try the projects for yourself.
As the final part of the program, MASS MoCA also produced a guided meditation that focused on the painting ‘Indian Summer – Four Seasons‘ by Wendy Red Star. Watch it below.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the way MASS MoCA incorporated nature and mindfulness in their event for both onsite and offsite participants – giving everyone an opportunity to slow down in different ways.
We are excited for their 5th Slow Art Day in 2022!
Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl
For their first Slow Art Day, the National Gallery Singapore, in Singapore, invited participants to join one of two events hosted by the Gallery:
Slow Art Online: a virtual 60-minute slow-looking program
Slow Art Plus: an in-person 90-minute slow-looking and mindfulness program
The Slow Art Online virtual program featured slow-looking exercises followed by discussions, facilitated by the Gallery’s docents. Started during the pandemic, this program has become so popular that it is now a regular part of the Gallery’s calendar throughout the year. For details about future sessions, reach out to email@example.com.
For the Slow Art Plus in-person event, visitors participated in mindfulness exercises and were invited to look slowly at a selection of artworks, including Georgette Chen’s Lotus In A Breeze (1970).
Dr. Mabel Yap, a trained mindfulness practitioner, guided participants through mindfulness exercises that she designed to engage the senses. This was followed by a group discussion about the intersection between visual art and emotional wellness in modern Southeast Asian art. The way the mindfulness exercises slowed down the participants and helped them connect to the art explains why this approach has deservedly become a big part of Slow Art Day events around the world.
Interested participants snapped up free tickets to both programs rapidly, and people both new and familiar with the Gallery had positive feedback.
“I didn’t realise how much we can observe and gain from art by being mindful. I liked that the various exercises helped to guide us and provided variety.”Participant’s quote
“(I really enjoyed) viewing the art piece at length and noticing more details… and hearing others’ perspectives how the paintings were relevant to their experience.”Participant’s quote
“Fusing the concepts of mindfulness and art! Wonderful exercises with the facilitator. Very interactive.”Participant’s quote
“(I really enjoyed) how I’m stretched to think and look at the art piece in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise.”Participant’s quote
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love that the National Gallery Singapore has decided to produce ongoing virtual sessions. Our mission from day one has been to use the annual event as a way to inspire regular slow looking activities throughout the year.
We were also glad to see yet another museum integrate mindfulness into their Slow Art Day.
We look forward to what the National Gallery Singapore come up with next year.
Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl.