In what we hope is the beginning of a global trend, Bloomington, Illinois was home this year to the first planned citywide Slow Art Day event.
Nine galleries across this town, including the non-profit art collective Inside Out Accessible Art, Inc (IOAA), participated in what they called their Route 66 Slow Art Day initiative (Eaton, Illinois is situated on the historic Route 66 highway in the U.S.).
In addition to what IOAA and each of the other galleries did, the big win here of course is the way longtime host Pamala Eaton organized the first citywide Slow Art Day (see this earlier post and this local media coverage for more information).
The IOAA’s design for Slow Art Day was simple.
Visitors were invited to slowly look at the art of six local artists and then talk with each of the artists, who were invited to spend the day with slow lookers.
The six artists who participated were the following:
- Sue Drummet (acrylics)
- Peggy Dunlap (mixed media)
- Deb Helgeson (acrylics)
- Mary Jo Johnson (watercolor)
- Mary Leung (fluid acrylics)
- Shelley Schultz (mixed media stained glass)
At Slow Art Day HQ we look forward to publishing the reports from the other eight galleries, and to writing a wrap-up analysis of Bloomington’s citywide event, including what other cities might learn about doing something similar.
Of course, we also hope that the IOAA will host another Slow Art Day in 2023, and that next year’s event will be part of yet another citywide experience.
– Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl
Ps. The IOAA is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit that has a physical gallery space for artists, provides art classes and events and works cooperatively with others in the community to provide art experiences. Check them out online or Facebook.
The Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) in Alabama — one of the founding Slow Art Day host museums back in 2010 — invited visitors in 2022 to a Slow Art Day featuring contemporary pieces of art in their collection.
Participants were invited to look at two pieces of art, including “The Deserted Studio” by artist Robert Motherwell.
After 5-10 minutes spent individually contemplating the artworks, participants took part in a relaxed discussion hosted by Julia Stork, Master Docent at the museum.
The event was attended by BMA docent alumni alongside local Slow Art Day enthusiasts, who all appreciated the event, with one participant exclaiming “Let’s do this again sooner than next year!” (The BMA used to host Slow Art Sundays, but discontinued them when the pandemic hit — we hope they can start them up again in the future.)
We can’t wait to see what the BMA comes up with in 2023.
– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica and Phyl
For their fourth Slow Art Day, the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) in Arizona, USA, hosted a slow looking event in combination with the opening of a new exhibition, Náátsʼíilid / Rainbow Light, featuring art by Diné artist Baje Whitethorne Sr., who grew up on the Navajo Nation Reservation.
Before the event, the museum posted a video to YouTube, where Alan Petersen, Curator of Fine Art, and Samantha Honanie, Bookstore & Publications Manager, introduced slow looking and Slow Art Day.
We highly recommend that all museum educators and curators view this well-done video.
In six minutes, Samantha and Alan show (not tell) the viewer how Slow Art Day works.
They use some simple but ingenious methods for “showing” 10 minutes of slow looking in just a minute or so — and they then capture the joy of discovery and enthusiasm that participants experience (that is so hard to describe in words).
It’s a real joy to watch.
Take a look and think about how you might borrow some of their techniques for your next Slow Art Day event.
For the actual day, participants were given a Slow Art Day cheat sheet of slow looking prompts.
Participants were then invited to view the art by Baje Whitethorne, choosing the order they wanted to see the artworks in, and applying the slow looking promts from the cheat sheet.
At 2pm, all participants gathered in the Living Room at the museum, where Alan Petersen led a discussion of the insights and experiences from the event.
We recommend viewing the following video of artist Baje Whitethorne introducing the title and theme of his exhibition, Náátsʼíilid / Rainbow Light, below.
We love everything about the NMA’s Slow Art Day – the preparatory video, the cheat sheet and the artwork chosen. We hope you get a chance to spend as much time with Baje Whitethorne and their work as we did in preparing this report.
We at Slow Art Day HQ are grateful that via writing these reports we get to look at and experience art from all over the world – art we may never have otherwise been able to see.
We look forward to whatever the Museum of Northern Arizona comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023.
– Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl
P.S. Stay updated with events at the Museum of Northern Arizona via their Facebook page.
Founding Slow Art Day host (and regular contributor to the Slow Art Day blog), artist Hedy Buzan organized an in-person slow-looking event at the Public Art Walk in Heisler Park Gazebo, Laguna Beach, California.
Below is the flyer that Hedy distributed in the beachside artist community of Laguna Beach.
For this event, Hedy chose five public art sculptures at Heisler Park, and asked participants to look at each for five minutes. Below are photos of three of the sculptures.
When we launched Slow Art Day in 2010, Hedy and about 30 other artists and volunteers ran ‘guerilla-style’ Slow Art Day events at museums, galleries, and sculpture parks. These were unofficial events because museums were not at first willing to participate. But after several years of running these clandestine slow-looking events, museums and galleries began to adopt Slow Art Day – which has now been officially sponsored by over 2,000 museums and galleries all over the world.
We thank Hedy for being one of the pioneers that made this whole movement possible and can’t wait to see what she comes up with for 2023.
Jessica Jane, Ashley and Phyl
P.S. – If you happen to be in Laguna Beach anytime this summer between June 24 and August 28, then look for Hedy Buzan’s booth at The Sawdust Art Festival and go thank her for helping to launch Slow Art Day.