More than 110 museums* and galleries around the world are slowing down today – to create more inclusive environments that allow everyone to learn how to look at and love art.
We are really excited about the many creative events happening all over the world today. And we look forward to learn in the coming weeks more about what the educators and curators designed for this year (and we will be working with them to write-up and publish their 2021 reports).
Meanwhile, if you are looking to participate in a Slow Art Day event today, then you can go to your local museum or gallery to see if they are planning an event – or, you can click here on the official venues for this year. (tip: some of the links direct you to a museum homepage, from there go to their “events” section or search for “Slow Art Day”).
You can also check Instagram #slowartday2021.
Because of the pandemic, many events will be virtual allowing you to participate anywhere in the world.
Again, happy Slow Art Day!
– Phil, Johanna, Maggie, Ashley, and the whole volunteer team
*P.S. 110 is the official count, though we know many more are also celebrating.
In a terrific feature-length article published yesterday, the Washington Post writer Kelsey Ables covered slow looking, Slow Art Day, our message of radical inclusivity, and encouraged readers to sign up to one of the 90+ venues around the world for this year’s global event.
Participating museums like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Museum of Women in the Arts are featured in the article, as is our friend, Jennifer Roberts, an art history professor at Harvard.
Further, the article highlighted a key element of our mission: increasing the accessibility of museums. From the beginning, we’ve believed that slow looking is an act of radical inclusivity where the viewer includes themselves, rather than being lectured to or told how to look. This radical inclusivity we believe is key to opening up museums and galleries to many more people.
[Note: Slow Art Day 2021 is coming up Saturday, April 10 – read the 2020 report for ideas on how to design your slow looking events.]
In this interview, Annalisa Banzi, Ph.D. (researcher in museum studies, psychology and neuroscience at CESPEB-Bicocca University) shares some ideas on “Wellness and Museums” with Elisabetta Roncati (art influencer), and focuses on Slow Art Day as a great example of programs that help with mental health.
Banzi and Roncati discuss the powerful effect of slow looking and how Slow Art Day is radically inclusive – i.e., allows people to include themselves in the art experience.
Moreover, Banzi argues that Slow Art Day has become a useful way to enhance people’s mental wellbeing during the pandemic *and* has given an important way for museums to interact with visitors all over the world.
Read it and get inspired by how educators around the world engaged the public during the pandemic.
Also, get practical tips for designing virtual events.
A few highlights from 2020:
2020 was our 10th anniversary. Since we began, more than 1,500 Slow Art Day events have been held in museums around the world, including The Tate Modern, SFMoMA, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The National Gallery in Australia, and The Art Institute of Chicago, to name a few.
We hosted virtual webinar training just after the lockdowns on how to use Zoom and host virtual events, with participants from several continents.
This Sunday, March 29 at 11am NYC time, we plan to run a Zoom training session for educators and curators and others involved in virtual Slow Art Day planning. If you want to join that, then respond to this post in the comments (we’ll also be inviting hosts via email).
The Frye Art Museum in Seattle, WA combined looking, drawing, and shared discussion for their Slow Art Day 2019.
The museum chose a single artwork in their current exhibition Tschabalala Self as a focus.
Each person then participated in three connected activities:
a close-looking session
a detailed artwork discussion rooted in Visual Thinking Strategies
a drawing activity and discussion with a partner (to see the drawing activity they used, watch this video here…the drawing assignment begins at about minute 3)
During the drawing portion, one participant noted it was “meaningful to exchange our drawing with a partner, interpret each other’s, then explain our own.” The museum also provided a self-guided form for visitors to lead their own slow looking art exploration.
Caroline Byrd who works in the Education Department at the museum says, “Slow Art Day is an accessible, inventive, and community-oriented opportunity that we continue to look forward to each year.” We couldn’t have said it better and appreciate the creativity they brought to the design of their day.
AX, the Arts and Culture Centre of Sussex in New Brunswick, Canada, held a multi-sensory Slow Art Day 2019 led by artist Deanna Musgrave, who had recently researched and written her Master’s thesis on multi-sensory art experiences.
Musgrave, whose own art was being shown, began by guiding the participants through a relaxation exercise, using sound and voice commands to invite the audience to achieve a trance-like state. She then focused on three pieces of work and encouraged viewers to experience tastes (wine, chocolate, peaches), smell (wine and peppermint), and sounds (recorded instruments) paired with each piece.
According to AX, audience members, ranging in age from 8 to 70, said that the slow multi-sensory session really enhanced their experience.
In other good news, Bonny Hill, Exhibitions Committee Chair at AX said they recently applied for and were awarded a grant to curate and host an exhibition of artists who work in the “slow art” style, using outdated technology and painstaking methods to create contemporary work. That exhibition will launch in early 2020, and perhaps be the focus of their Slow Art Day 2020.
Asia Kuzmiczow, the Artist Manager at Beeldend Gesproken in Amsterdam, designed a wonderful (and sold out) Slow Art Day 2019.
She and her team decided to focus on one artwork for one full hour from the photo exhibition Different Perspectives. My first Slow Art Day test in 2008 was also one hour with one artwork. I subsequently decided to suggest 10 minutes per artwork for the global event to make it more accessible, but still love the one hour format and am glad they used it in Amsterdam.
After 60 minutes of intense viewing, they then enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by the artist Sook Bae.
Asia and her team received some terrific feedback including:
Slow Art Day for me was literally a delight. A delight because of the invite to sit down, look without thinking, feeding the mind; having food for thoughts. It was a welcoming slow digest.
Shirley Herts, Founder www.msindysolutions.nl
P.S. Beeldend Gesproken (“visual voice” – great name) is organized as a social enterprise with a mission focused on presenting artists who experience mental health problems such as autism, burnout or psychotic symptoms. I encourage you to go visit their site and learn more.
Participants looked for 10 minutes at each artwork and then had a group discussion about the experience (and a light lunch). The museum sold special tickets for Slow Art Day at $10 each (including the food) and sold out the event.
L’Amoreaux wrote about a common part of the Slow Art Day experience – the surprising nature of slow time and of focused looking.
When everyone started, I think we were all thinking 10 minutes was an impossible eternity to look at one piece of art. But afterwards, many of us shared how quickly the 10 minutes passed and how surprised we were by what we noticed, especially with pieces we weren’t especially attracted to.
P.S. We are planning a webinar with Nye and L’Amoreaux to discuss the design of their event. More on that soon.