Slow Looking with Tea and Cookies at Sweden’s Galleri Pictor

For their first Slow Art Day, Galleri Pictor in Munka-Ljungby, Sweden, hosted an in-person slow looking event with visiting art students from Munka folkhögskola.

André Bongibolt, Les 1000 soleils entrevus (64 x 83 cm), mezzotint on paper. Read more.
Participants looking at the artwork by André Bongibolt. Photo courtsey of Galleri Pictor.

On Slow Art Day, the group gathered in a gallery and sat in a half circle in front of a picture by André Bongibolt. They started with relaxing their bodies and minds for a moment before looking slowly at the artwork. Participants were also given a document with slow looking instructions in Swedish, viewable below.

Following this, all participants wrote their thoughts and observations and shared them back with the group. To round off the event, participants reflected on their slow looking experience over a cup of tea and cookies (or ‘biscuits’ as they sometimes say in Europe).

Reflecting on the event, Charlotte Fällman Gleissner shared the following with us:

Even as a gallerist, I seldom give myself time to really see the artwork in a deeper sense – therefore this was a new experience for me too. Further, I now understand how flexible slow-looking is and how it can be used with different kinds of groups in a range of settings. This is wonderful. Thank You!

Charlotte Fällman Gleissner

We at Slow Art Day HQ are excited that Galleri Pictor has joined the slow art movement – and, in fact, we now believe that all slow looking events should end with tea and cookies. That is certainly a best practice!

– Johanna, Phyl, Ashley, Jessica and Robin

PS: Stay in touch with other events at Galleri Pictor via their Instagram

Connect and Create with Slow Art at Lehigh University Art Galleries

For their third Slow Art Day, the Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, organized a variety of interesting, student-led slow looking activities.

Sam Ginn and Cassidy Rubio guiding visitors on the Slow Art Day tour, 2022

On April 2nd, visitors to the galleries were invited on a Slow Art Day Tour between 1-2PM to look at and discuss some visiting artworks from the exhibition Young, Gifted and Black together with Sam Ginn and Cassidy Rubio, both museum educators and students at Lehigh University.

Visitors were also separately given the change to join a Connect & Create Workshop with Lehigh student Afiwa Afandalo and the group Artists for Change.

For that workshop, participants read a short written piece connected to the theme, then discussed how a selection of artists engage with ideas of community in their work. In the final part of the session, they created an art piece (written or visual) that represented the influence of community on identity or vice versa. Participants considered their roles as community members, and reflected together on how “the collective and the self are equally important.”

In a LUAG student spotlight post, Afiwa Afandalo, the student and artist, reflected on how she created the workshop, which was inspired by sketching and contemplating one of the art works in the exhibit Young, Gifted, and Black.

We recommend you read her revelatory quote below –

The idea of having a workshop on the theme of identity and community came to me while viewing Blue Dancer by Tunji Adeniyi Jones. Every time I go to the gallery, I stop by that piece, the colors, the shape of the figure, the movement, they all feel so organic to me! I was so in love with that piece (I still am), I did a sketch of it in my sketchbook and used it as my artist study for my self-portrait painting. Sketching this piece allowed me to engage and decipher it; it felt like a puzzle—I love puzzles and I think it makes sense that I saw it as that: a puzzle—every piece carefully and intentionally crafted to create this beautiful piece. Something that stood out to me in this process was how the movements within the figure and outside of it are in sync with the form of the figure. I was trying to figure out which of the motion was impacting the other and couldn’t quite put my finger on it. When I finished the figure and was working on the surroundings, that’s when I had my “lightbulb moment”; it is not one or the other, it is both together, working at the same time, and having an impact on each other. That made me think of myself and my environment, how both work together and are equally important to the person I am and becoming. That’s when I knew what the workshop should be about.

Afiwa Afandalo. Lehigh University Art Galleries spotlight. May 26, 2022.

LUAG is an example of a university art museum that has incorporated slow looking and non-judgmental looking practices deeply into their tours, programs, and student engagement.

Seeing this brings us real joy and makes us look forward to seeing what LUAG comes up with for their 2023 Slow Art Day program.

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

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

Sharon Norwood Slowly at Washington & Lee University

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.

The Root of the Matter V, 2016 Digital Collage by Sharon Norwood. Courtesy of the Museums at Washington and Lee website.

Slow looking participant. Courtesy of the Museums at Washington & Lee University Instagram.

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.

Her work is stunning and we recommend you check out their Instagram and visit their website to read more about Sharon Norwood.

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).

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Mindful Art at Musée des Beaux Arts d’Orléans in Orléans, France

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.

Marjan Abadie leading participants through slow looking. CREDIT: Marjan Abadie
Slow Art Day participants. CREDIT: Marjan Abadie

We look forward to what Marjan Abadie comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

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

Slow Art Day at Nashville Parthenon

On the 2nd of April, the Nashville Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee, celebrated their first Slow Art Day with a variety of in-person activities.

For the event, they organized four art talks with Acting Curator Jennifer Richardson who helped participants look slowly and explore paintings while also facilitating discussions using Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS).

Acting Curator Jennifer Richardson in the Cowan Gallery – Picture taken from website

Richardson alternated talks/slow looking with other activities.

For example, docents encouraged participants to take part in their Cowan Challenge: a slow looking, detail-finding game with paintings from their Cowan Collection, which includes art works that range from the 18th-20th centuries, to contemporary pieces from their Red Arrow – Show Up! past exhibition.

They also held an Achitecture Tour to look slowly at the building and, separately, organized a Kidsville event, where children, families, and adults could read a book with Imagination Library and create art inspired by it. To make everything even more inclusive, they also set up a Quiet Area for participants to enjoy art books in their specific designated area.

The event was a success, with 1,867 visitors and 242 recorded contacts many of whom admitted to being surprised by discovering how much they could really see thanks to the art of slowing down.

At Slow Art Day HQ we are glad to welcome Nashville Parthenon to our movement and look forward to what they come up with in April 2023!

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

7th Slow Art Day at Hofstra University Museum of Art

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.

Slow Art Day Participants
Slow Art Day Participants

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.

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

McMaster Museum of Art Produces Their 9th(!) Slow Art Day

For their 9th(!) Slow Art Day, the McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton, Canada, hosted a virtual slow looking session organized by Information Officer Olga Kolotylo together with Education Officer Teresa Gregorio.

On April 2, participants looked slowly at artworks by Denyse Thomasos (1964-2012), Alexandra Luke, the Painters Eleven, and others.

At the start of the session, participants were first given context about the land which the McMaster is located on, which traditionally belongs to the Hadenosaunee and Anishinaabe nations. Slow Art Day was then introduced, and The McMaster presented the following advice for slow looking:

  • Get comfortable
  • Pay attention to your senses
  • Open yourself up
  • Allow yourself to enter the artwork
  • Trust your intuition
  • Share your findings
  • Look again

For the remainder of the time, participants were given silence to look slowly followed then by discussion.

The session was recorded and is available to watch below. We encourage art educators to check out the video for inspiration and ideas, including Kolotylo’s moderation and the way she did not reveal the artist or title until the end of each conversation.

Slow Art Day 2022 at the McMaster Museum of Art.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the longtime leadership of the McMaster Museum of Art in the slow looking movement and eagerly look forward to what they create in 2023.

We can’t wait to see what the McMaster Museum of Art comes up with for Slow Art Day in 2023.

– Johanna, Jessica Jane, Ashley, Phyl and Robin

P.S. You can stay updated with events at the McMaster Museum of Art via their IG page.

P.P.S. I, Johanna, feel especially nostalgic when I write about the McMaster events, since their event was one of the first reports I put together for Slow Art Day when I joined the team.

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