The Museums at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA held their first Slow Art Day this year, led by Director of Museums Isra El-beshir and student curator Posi Oluwakuyide, and focused on “The Root of the Matter,” an exhibit featuring the contemporary art of Sharon Norwood.
A conceptual artist of Caribbean descent, Norwood aims to provoke an honest conversation about race, beauty, and differences.
As you can see, she uses the curly line to express identity and cultural relationships through various art forms, including ceramics, drawings, paintings, installations, and videos.
We are happy to welcome The Museums at W&L to our movement, and very much look forward to seeing the art they focus on for their second Slow Art Day in 2023.
– Ashley, Johanna, Jessica Jane, Robin, and Phyl
P.S. Below is the digital flyer used to promote the event (note their use of tinycc in their print marketing, which makes it easier for readers to type in long urls – something we recommend other educators consider copying for their print materials).
For their first Slow Art Day, Mindful Art hosted two days of mindfulness and slow looking at the Musée des Beaux Arts d’Orléans in Orléans, France. Organizer Marjan Abadie led the hybrid in-person and online event, which had 129 participants in total.
The Mindful Art Experience is an initiative by the Mindfulness Institute in Brussels, Belgium. Below is a website banner they used to promote the event.
We look forward to what Marjan Abadie comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023.
For their 7th Slow Art Day held April of 2022, Hofstra University Museum of Art in Hempstead, New York held an in-person event focused on works of art in their “Drawing Matters” exhibition, which included works from the museum’s collection of botanical and scientific illustrations, as well as engineering and architectural drawings.
Museum Director Karen Albert led slow looking and drawing exercises throughout the 2-hour event, which was limited to 15 attendees.
Below is the flyer used to promote the event:
Hofstra, which uses slow-looking techniques throughout the year during their classes, brought a light touch to the program (i.e., less lecture and more looking), which is what we love to see.
You can visit them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin, and learn more about their classes, which are provided to elementary, secondary, and university students, as well as teachers and others.
We look forward to what the Hofstra Museum of Art comes up with for their 8th Slow Art Day in 2023.
On April 2, 2022, the El Nido Art Space presented by VC Projects in Los Angeles, CA hosted their first Slow Art Day, which focused on a two-person exhibition titled “War and Peace” (Ukrainian Voices) by Denys Kushnarov, a Kyiv-based filmmaker, and Yuri Boyko, an LA-based Ukranian-American photographer and artist.
The in-person event featured six short films about Ukraine, which Kushnarov is associated with:
“Make Music Not War!” (made after the Donbas region and Crimea Peninsula were annexed by Russia)
“There is a Place” (dedicated to the Chernobyl tragedy)
Memorial Choir “Ukraina”
Kushnarov also wrote “A Message from Ukraine,” a letter to the world based on the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The exhibition also featured the photography series, “Departure and Arrival”, by Boyko, which presented written prose and a visual exploration of the LA-based Ukranian-American artist’s grandmother’s home in Ukraine. Boyko visited the home after 30 years of absence, and found that all family rituals and traditions were still intact. His photographs capture a past that has now been destroyed.
Victoria Chapman, Founder and Director of VC Projects, curated the exhibition by contacting the two artists in the wake of the Russian invasion. She writes, “What could be more relevant for Slow Art Day … taking pause to reflect on art and humanity.”
The event was attended by 50 guests, and was promoted on their website, where you can find links to the videos and view more of the photography. You can also check out more from VC Projects and the El Nido Art Space on Instagram at VC Projects and El Nido Art Space. Below is a flyer used to promote the event:
We at Slow Art Day HQ are deeply saddened by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and are glad to see communities come together to reflect on art and humanity.
Singaporean gallery ARTualize participated in their 2nd Slow Art Day by offering their year-long Mindfulness with Paintings class for free on the day of the event, and throughout April. Sok Leng, museum instructor, guided participants to look mindfully and slowly at the painting “By the River Seine” by established Singapore artist Low Hai Hong. They then had a discussion about the feelings the painting conjured up.
“Looking at paintings slowly gave me a deeper appreciation of the painting and a better understanding of myself through the art.”
Michelle, Slow Art Day Participant
ARTualize’s Slow Art Day event was also featured on Singapore’s main news broadcast channel Chinese Mediacorp Channel 8 News a few weeks after the event, and was the first time Slow Art has been featured on Singapore TV.
1 – Concept – Introduce mindfulness and basic mindfulness techniques.
2 – Practice – Look at selected paintings slowly and mindfully (at least 1 minute for each painting).
3 – Discussion – Reflect upon the experience and realize how different paintings (and for that matter, life in general) feel, when we are mindful and when we take our time to slowly savour.
When we originally launched Slow Art Day in 2010, we wanted, in part, to inspire museums to produce year-round slow looking programming – and that has happened. In fact, slow looking programming has become so mainstream that ARTualize began slow looking sessions *before* they later joined Slow Art Day. We love this development!
For their fourth Slow Art Day, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens invited guests to slow down and enjoy the immersive indoor and outdoor mixed media art environment created by artist Isaiah Zagar. The winding spaces are covered in mosaics created with Zagar’s handmade tiles and found objects, such as folk art, bottles, bike wheels, and mirrors.
Zagar’s art can also be seen on public walls throughout the south Philadelphia community, where he has been restoring and beautifying public spaces since the 1960s.
After slowing down to take in the details of the space, Samantha Eusebio, Museum Educator, led a discussion on a particular section of the outdoor sculpture garden that included several large handmade tiles that Zagar made during a residency he held at the Kohler company in Wisconsin from September to November, 2001.
Samantha first asked the group of 15 participants to share themes that they noticed emerging within the tiles. She then shared a video interview of Zagar talking about his experience at Kohler.
After the video, Samantha led a discussion about Zagar’s influences for the large tiles, which happened to be the events of 911 that occurred while he was in his residency at Kohler. Being raised in Brooklyn, NY, Zagar was heavily influenced by the tragedy, and his tiles include images of airplanes and buildings. Samantha continued the discussion with the group on different ways individuals deal with grief and trauma – through art, reading, exercise, or even just slowing down.
Large Tile Mosaics with Airplane Motifs by Isaiah Zagar. Photo by Ashley Moran.
I had the pleasure of attending this Slow Art Day event, and it was eye opening. Even though I know that slowing down helps you see things that you are otherwise blind to, and even though I’m a longtime Slow Art Day volunteer who teaches many others about the power of slowing down to really see, I was still surprised by how much I saw that I had never seen before on multiple previous visits to The Magic Gardens. This is why Slow Art Day is an experiential program, and not primarily a theoretical one. You can understand the theory behind slow looking, but that doesn’t mean that you can see until you really slow down.
It truly is amazing what you can experience if you take the time to slow down.
We at Slow Art Day HQ look forward to visiting Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens while on our tour this summer of NYC and Philadelphia, and we can’t wait to see what they share for Slow Art Day 2023.
Look not only at what is pictured, but how it is pictured.
What kind of colors has the artist used? Are they bright, muted, or somewhere in between?
Can you see how the color has been applied or is the color smooth and blended?
Is there a sense of deep, moderate, shallow, or indeterminate space? Is that space consistent throughout the picture?
Is space clear and well defined or atmospheric? What about how the picture was painted gives it that quality?
Is there the suggestion of a directional light source, of light coming from a one side or the other?
Can you see lines anywhere, whether painted lines or strong edges created by color-to-color areas? Where are lines used and how?
What other observations can you make?
How is the installation piece different from the paintings?
What is the unifying theme of the installation?
Afterwards, Director Ross Mitchell invited participants to the art gallery where he led a discussion on the aesthetic qualities of the pieces. The event was promoted on Glen Foerd’s website and their Instagram page a month in advance.
An Impromptu Slow Looking Session
As we at Slow Art Day HQ started to write this report, we also decided to take few moments to look slowly at all of the works and have our own discussion about them – and we encourage you all to do the same.
Before reading further, scroll back up and look… slowly. Then come back here to read a little about our thoughts.
We were immediately drawn to this work and to its great sense of movement. We debated whether we thought the two winged figures (angels, birds?) were drawn to the light or coming from the light. And we all enjoyed one of the rewards of slow looking at this painting – the eventual realization that there is a third figure. Overall, slowing down with this painting left us with a feeling of hope.
We debated the flatness of this painting, and whether it’s a painting of a painting. We also were drawn to, and discussed, the richness of the table – the wood is like droplets of water falling into a stream. One of us pointed out that the closely-cropped borders give a sense of tightness. And, in a lighter moment, we all agreed that we wanted to move the lit candlesticks away from the flowers. Ultimately, this work brought us feelings of autumn and a sense of sadness.
This several hundred year old painting brought up the most debate. Some of us do not like portraits of the elite, but the power of slowing down is that everyone gets to go beyond the superficial binary of “like / don’t like” – and discovers a new relationship to the artwork. As we looked and then talked, we noticed and discussed a number of things. Several of us were drawn to her facial expression. Is she smirking? We noticed her white dress, shoes, translucent sleeves, and colorful shawl (is that an LGBTQ flag?) and parasol – and also noticed how her ring is displayed prominently. Is the artist making a proto modern-day statement about gender, sexual orientation, marriage? Unlikely. We don’t know, but we are free to see what we see.
We were all immediately drawn to this piece, yet it took us to very different places. For some, this felt like a city at night, with the reflections in the table like lights in a river. For others, this was a library of mid-century modern shelves – the doors opening to reveal mirrors asking us to look deeply within ourselves.For yet others, each of these tiles represented the infinity of possibilities, including the unlimited number of genders.
We at Slow Art Day HQ are happy to see Glen Foerd’s participation for a second year, and look forward to whatever they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.
Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl
P.S. – The Slow Art Day HQ team is getting together this summer in the United States and we are planning to visit Glen Foerd in addition to other NY and Philadelphia museums.
We look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary with you in 2020. Thank you for all you have done to make possible the 1,500 total Slow Art Day events over the years on every continent and land mass except for Greenland (who is up for Greenland this year?).
Phil, Ashley, Maggie, Johanna and the whole Slow Art Day central volunteer team
The event highlighted three sculptures by artists Kathleen Ryan and Kapwani Kiwanga. Participants were given a self-guided prompt sheet that suggested ways to compare and contrast the selected works. This was followed by a public talk inviting participants to discuss the works and their experience of slow-looking.
“We are always pleased to see the visitors give time that the works demand!”
Emily Garner, Public Programs Manager
Emily mentioned that she and her colleagues “are thrilled to participate in this global event amongst some great art institutions,” and we look forward to their participation in 2020.