Virtual Slow Art Week in Latvia

The Art Museum in Riga Bourse in Riga, Latvia hosted a virtual, weeklong Slow Art Week for their third year participating in the slow looking movement. Anna Emsiņa, art educator, hosted the event and communications manager, Anete Brakša, worked on virtual videos and Instagram stories.

Events outside their control forced the museum to convert their original in-person plans to instead posting stories in Latvian to their social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook throughout Slow Art Week. Their Instagram reel and stories focused on works from the exhibition Georg Wilhelm Timm (1820-1895): artist, publisher, traveler, and shared general tips how to enjoy slow looking at the art.

The text above is an invitation/explanation on how and why to look at art slowly. It translates to:
“Spending extended time with the chosen art object and delving into the details to find an individual connection with it.”

The image above contains prompts to consider while slow looking and translates to:
“Choose one art object and devote time to it. (deep inhale and exhale)
– What is your first impression, why? why chose this work?
– Does this work of art remind you of something?
– What attracts you to the composition?
– What feelings do the colors create?
– Imagine that a work of art is a new environment – what do you feel?”

The image above is a centering exercise; it translates to:
“The main thing is to breathe. Close your eyes if necessary and don’t be afraid to answer the questions that arise for yourself.”

Their Slow Art Week brought many virtual visitors, with thousands of views.

The Art Museum Riga Bourse holds slow art events throughout the year and more information can be found on their calendar. They hope to have some in person, but will continue with the virtual events as long as necessary.

We can’t wait to see what this important and creative museum comes up with for next year.

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Johanna, and Jessica Jane

Toronto’s Gardiner Museum Explores Social, Political, & Environmental Themes

Earlier this year, the Gardiner Museum, Canada’s ceramics museum, hosted a Slow Art Day event focusing on the social, political, and environmental themes explored in the exhibition Shary Boyle: Outside the Palace of Me. Education Manager, Farrukh Rafiq, guided attendees in slow looking activities and engaged them in a discussion about the works on display.

Shary Boyle: Outside the Palace of Me

As a multi-sensory installation, Shary Boyle: Outside the Palace of Me explores how we see ourselves and each other through drawings, ceramic sculpture, life-sized automatons, two-way mirrors, coin-operated sculpture, and an interactive score.

More information about the exhibit and the Gardiner Museum can be found on the links above and via their social media pages: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is the third year that Toronto’s Gardiner Museum has held a slow art event and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Jessica Jane, and Johanna

Holding Hands with St. Vincent de Paul in Melbourne, Australia

For their first Slow Art Day, Monique Silk and her colleagues at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, created a series of Slow Art Cards in sets of five so both patients and visitors could participate. The cards utilized three different art works from their art collection and a photo from their archives. On the back of the card, they included a series of instructions on ways to look at the art works slowly.

The prompts they used are:

  1. Look: Give yourself a few minutes to look all over the art work. Let your eyes wander to all corners of the image, top to bottom and left to right.
  2. Observe: Notice the colors, shapes, objects, textures and markings on the surface of the art work. Where do your eyes focus?
  3. Feel: What words come to mind about this art work? How do you feel looking at this art work? Does it remind you of anything?
  4. Share: Share your experience of looking at the artwork with someone and post an image of the work online with a word of reflection and hashtag #slowartday2022
Ben Quilty, Torana on Flinders, 2002, oil on canvas, photo courtesy of Monique Silk
St. Vincent’s Hospital Diet Kitchen c. 1952, Clinical Photography Department Collection, SVHM Archives, photo courtesy of Monique Silk
Sarah Metzner, Country Whispers to Us in Many Languages, 2021, oil paint and pastel on paper, photo courtesy of Monique Silk
Penny Long, Pathway, 2011, oil on canvas, photo courtesy of Monique Silk

Cards were distributed to various hospital departments to share with patients and visitors on Slow Art Day. The response from the staff to the cards was very positive.

Monique also a slow art activity in the hospital courtyard. This activity invited people to sit and slowly look at their statue of St Vincent de Paul. They even invited people to come and hold his hands and interact with the sculpture directly. While people were a bit shy when sitting with the sculpture, the hosts gave people space to interact without feeling as though they were being directly observed.

St. Vincent de Paul, by Australian sculptor Peter Corlett, photo courtesy of Monique Silk

One patient was wheeled out to the courtyard to be with the sculpture of St. Vincent and her caregiver said “this was the highlight of her day”. Another staff member said they had never noticed the sculpture before and thanked the hosts for giving them the opportunity to “feel” the presence of St. Vincent.

The pastoral care staff decided that the cards can be used on an ongoing basis and one chaplain said that:

“It’s a joy to offer the beautiful slow art cards to patients. There has been gratitude expressed from those who received your wonderful gifts. Such a great initiative!”

After the events, the hosts realized that they should have included a First Nations art work, which they plan to do for Slow Art Day 2023.

We at Slow Art Day are so happy that St. Vincent’s in Melbourne decided to celebrate Slow Art Day 2022 with patients and visitors. Perhaps, this is the beginning of a trend of many more hospitals around the world joining the slow looking movement, and bringing the power of learning to look at and love art to patients, visitors, and staff. This is a true Mitzvah.

– Robin, Ashley, Johanna, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

Delving into the Down North Exhibition at Portland Museum of Art

For its fifth Slow Art Day, Portland Museum of Art delved into three works from Down North: The North Atlantic Triennial. This exhibition was co-organized by the Portland Museum of Art, the Reykjavík Art Museum, Iceland, and the Bildmuseet, Sweden; it is the first exhibition devoted entirely to contemporary art of the North Atlantic region.

Participants joined Christian Adame, Peggy L. Osher Director of Learning and Community Collaboration, to look in-person with intention and attention at three works of art (pictured below) for a total of 90 minutes.

Lauren Fensterstock (United States, born 1975), The Order of Things, 2016, mixed media with shells, overall: 78 x 240 x 26 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery, NY. © Lauren Fensterstock

Bita Razavi (Finland/Estonia, born 1983), Gameplay video filmed in The Hunter: Call of the Wild from the series The Dog Days Will Soon Be Over, 2019, sound; HD video, 16:9, 5 minutes 39 seconds (loop), musical score by Svetlana Maraš. Courtesy of the artist. © Bita Razavi

Anders Sunna (Sápmi, born 1985) Torne STYX, 2021, paint and collage on wood, 48 x 88 13/64 x 5/32 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Anders Sunna. Photographs by Piera Niilá Stålka

More information, including a video of the exhibition, can be found here. Be sure to explore the entire page as the selected works featured online are striking and evocative. Portland Art Museum also holds slow looking events throughout the year on an intermittent basis. Information on those events, and when they will be held, can be found on their calendar.

Portland Museum of Art can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Soundcloud.

We can’t wait to see what PMA does for 2023!

-Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Johanna, and Jessica Jane.

P.S. We want to recognize the long-time leadership of Christian Adame who first hosted Slow Art Day at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento in 2013. When he later moved to the Phoenix Art Museum he brought it there, and then, more recently, when he was hired by the Portland Museum of Art he again brought Slow Art Day with him. Christian is the pied-piper of our movement.

Looking Slowly in London at The Wallace Collection

On Saturday April 2, 2022, The Wallace Collection in London hosted “Looking Slowly: Slow Art Day 2022” online. Organized by Miranda K. Gleaves and hosted by Oliver Jones and History of Art lecturer Jo Rhymer, the 136 attendees were guided through an hour of slow looking focused on a single painting, An Allegory of Fruitfulness, by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678).

An Allegory of Fruitfulness, 1620-9, Jacob Jordaens, © The Wallace Collection.

The event was very well received with participants saying things like –

“Thank you. I can not even imagine from now on, rushing through paintings. This is such a nice experience”.

Later in the month of April, they hosted “Slow Art”, a two-day online event where they helped participants develop skills in visual analysis and active looking. We’ve asked them for more details on their curriculum, or anything we can share with the global Slow Art Day community.

Further, we are happy to say that The Wallace Collection is one of a growing number of institutions that also hosts slow looking sessions throughout the year as a part of their public programming schedule.

You can find The Wallace Collection on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We can’t wait to see what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

Ashley, Phyl, Jessica Jane, Johanna, and Robin

Lead Creative Festival & First Slow Art Week at Universidad Panamericana

The Universidad Panamericana, Guadalajara campus, located in Zapopan, Mexico, held their first Slow Art Week as a part of their Lead Creative Festival. Lead Creative is a festival that invites young people to seek change through art, and was hosted by Andrea Guadalupe Covarrubias. For the festival, art is broadly defined to include the visual arts, along with instrumental and vocal music, dance, and theater.

With over 1800 participants, this hybrid event had both in-person engagement and social media posts on Facebook and Instagram with an average reach of 700 people per post.

Based on the success of their first Slow Art Day, they plan to hold slow looking sessions throughout the year and not just with visual art, but also with the choir, theater group, and dance artists.

The event was advertised as a part of the Lead Creative festival with the below flyer.

More information can be found on their website, along with videos from past events on their YouTube channel.

We can’t wait to see how Slow Art and Slow Looking are featured in next year’s Lead Creative festival!

– Robin, Ashley, Johanna, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

Look, Listen, and Relax at Drinking Gourd Gallery

For Drinking Gourd Gallery‘s first Slow Art Day, founder Carol Torian hosted artist Kirsten Moore and led a 75-minute guided slow looking experience. Based in Raleigh, NC and conducted via Zoom, the event focused on Kirsten Moore’s food art paintings: “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy,” “Spring Onions,” “Taste the Rainbow,” and “Traditions.” Following a meditative centering exercise, visitors observed each piece, then engaged in a group discussion to share their impressions of the artwork. Kirsten also shared aspects of her artistic process and what inspires her to create.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, Kirsten Moore, 2022, Mixed Media, 20″x24″
photo credit: Carol Torian
Spring Onions, Kirsten Moore, Mixed Media, 2017, 24″x18″
photo credit: Carol Torian

Kirsten Moore’s works are mosaics of recycled materials, such as magazines, and build on the history of food as art. Moore has a passion for planet sustainability and uses repurposed materials and discarded items instead of traditional mediums to create her mixed media artwork. Her process of deconstructing the material and giving it new life can be seen in her paintings, sculptures, and even digital artwork.

Taste the Rainbow, Kirsten Moore, Mixed Media, 2018, 18″x24″
photo credit: Carol Torian
Traditions, Kirsten Moore, Mixed Media, 2016, 16″x20″

Drinking Gourd Gallery promoted their event on Facebook and Instagram using the following image:

The attendees were engaged and excited about the process.

We encourage Slow Art Day educators and curators to spend some time with Moore’s terrific food art.

We also note that the gallery, which gets its name from the folk song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” honoring those who were once enslaved, plans on holding virtual slow art events on a quarterly basis.

We can’t wait to see what Drinking Gourd Gallery comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023!

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Johanna, and Jessica Jane

Slow Art Day at Sint Pauluskerk in Antwerp

On April 2, 2022, Sint Pauluskerk in Antwerp, Belgium held their fifth Slow Art Day – bringing together about 500 people for an in-person event in their Calvary Garden.

Calvary Garden, Saint Paul’s Antwerp, Belgium – credit Sint-Pauluskerk Antwerpen
Calvary Garden, Saint Paul’s Antwerp, Belgium – credit Sint-Pauluskerk Antwerpen

The garden, populated by prophets and saints and sheltered by the church wall and private home, contains 64 statues and architecture that dates from the 1700s.

It is a place of reflection, an oasis of peace in the center of the busy port city, and as such a perfect spot for a Slow Art Day.

For this fifth Slow Art Day, they had volunteers (“St. Paul’s friends”) in the Garden to help answer questions and guide participants. Importantly, they also made the Garden free of charge from 2pm to 5pm on Slow Art Day, helping to welcome hundreds of people into this outdoor art-filled sanctuary.

As noted, their in-person afternoon was very well attended.

Additionally, they generated great online engagement including hundreds of Facebook and Instagram likes.

Saint Paul’s Antwerp, Belgium, guide Leo Vereecken during Slow Art Day 2022, credit Sint-Pauluskerk Antwerpen
Saint Paul’s Antwerp, Belgium, guide Leo Vereecken during Slow Art Day 2022, credit Sint-Pauluskerk Antwerpen

We must admit that we are big fans of the team at Sint Pauluskerk. They are an inspiration to all of us around the world who care about building this movement based on slow looking, reflection, and love.

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Johanna, and Jessica Jane

P.S. Please help us welcome a new Slow Art Day volunteer, Robin Cerio. Robin has a Master’s in art history, has worked in museums, and is going to help us with our big backlog of 2022 reports. In fact, she drafted this report. Welcome, Robin!

Slow Art Weekend with cARTie

cARTie, Connecticut’s Non-Profit Mobile Art Museum, held events throughout what they called Slow Art Weekend 2022.

cARTie invited viewers at each of their stops to choose two works of art and spend at least 5 minutes with each. Their free event provided prompts, art materials, and all-important cushions.

The artwork featured was created by Connecticut high school students and an impressive selection follows:

Utah Raptor, drawn sketch and graphic illustration completed during Covid-19, 2021, by Mark
Enough, mixed media self-portrait during Covid-19, 2021, by Nate
Shouting Stars, acrylic painting completed during Covid-19, 2021, by Jason

The event was featured on cARTie’s Instagram page and advertised with the below flyer:

cARTie flyer

In addition to this Slow Art Weekend, cARTie provides year-round museum field trips to elementary schools that have limited access to the arts. *All* of their field trips include slow art time with rich, facilitated discussion.

We love this program and their mission to bring art to schools that otherwise don’t have it. We also are impressed by the design of their mobile Slow Art Weekend including their decision to feature some terrific student art.

We very much look forward to seeing what design they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Jessica Jane, and Johanna

P.S. We’ve also asked them to provide an electronic copy of their brochure so we can share that with educators and curators around the world.