Successful First Slow Art Day for The Treasure Coast

The Treasure Coast Art Association in Fort Pierce, FL hosted their first Slow Art Day this year for the Fort Pierce Art Club members in the home of member Jeanne Johansen.

The morning started with the participants sketching an internationally trained nude model, and was followed by an afternoon exploring art club members’ paintings through various interactive techniques.

Jeanne reported that one of the most fun techniques was to have everyone sit with their backs to the paintings and attempt to draw them as participant Barry Levine described them out loud.

New member, Carol Merrett, engaged the group by asking them to guess what her paintings were before she unveiled her acrylic textured paintings.

Scott Serafica, an art teacher from Texas, brought a beautiful oil still life to be observed. The group paired the artwork with a cup of fragrant tea to complement the teapot in the painting, which engaged the groups sense of smell as they slowly observed it.

The Treasure Coast Art Association is planning their next Slow Art Day event with the Backus Museum in April 2020, and we look forward to hearing what they have in store for their second event.

– Ashley

Immersive Mindfulness at Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Third Slow Art Day

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) in West Bretton, UK hosted their third Slow Art Day, “Mindful Moments on Slow Art Day: To Breathe” by Kimsooja, a multi-disciplinary conceptual artist based in New York, Paris, and Seoul. 

Participants were invited for a private viewing of Kimsooja’s immersive installation in the historic chapel at YSP, which used light and mirrors to explore the meditative qualities of space. The mirrored floor and diffraction film in the windows responded to changes in natural light, generating a kaleidoscope of changing colors and reflections.

Photo by Mark Reeves

This year’s event was part of a program of mindfulness and art events developed by Art and Wellbeing Practitioner Rachel Howfield Massey and Mindfulness Instructor Sally Edward of Kindmind. Together they invited the group to take off their shoes and stand, sit, and lie on the mirrored floor for forty minutes and notice the changes around them and within their own bodies.

The group silently experienced moments of awe and joy when light flooded the space, and periods of quiet contemplation as the intensity of light changed from moment to moment. 

Photo by Mark Reeves

After the event, participants enjoyed hot drinks and pastries in the YSP Restaurant and took part in a gently facilitated discussion. They reported feeling a sense of heightened emotions and expansiveness. Here’s what one participant said:

“I feel like we have been on a journey and travelled far and back safely. How lovely the simplicity of this – simple yet so powerful. I feel very relaxed and empowered with a new tool – how to ‘to be’ with art.”

We look forward to seeing what mindful and immersive experiences the Yorkshire Sculpture Park programs for Slow Art Day in 2020.

– Ashley

New Friends and Insights at Hofstra University’s 6th Slow Art Day

For Slow Art Day 2019, Hofstra University Museum of Art invited visitors from the surrounding Long Island, NY communities to look slowly at their exhibition, “Pushing Boundaries: American Art After World War II.” 

The museum started their event by providing written prompts instructing participants how to slowly observe selected works. Nancy Richner, Museum Director, then facilitated a group conversation about each individual piece, which was followed by a light lunch.

Nancy reported that it was delightful to see the participants, without prompting, naturally engage in their own discussions about the selected works. They were so enthusiastic about the discussions that they also ventured to look at other works in the exhibition together.

“It was reaffirming to watch the visitors, who were initially strangers to each other, discuss insights and make new friends through their shared experience of slow looking,” she said.

We love to hear how Slow Art Day can facilitate new insights and friendships, and look forward to Hofstra University Museum of Art’s 7th Slow Art Day in 2020.

– Ashley

Meditative Slow Art Day 2019 at Butler Gallery

For Slow Art Day 2019, Butler Gallery in Kilkenny, Ireland invited visitors to slow down, focus, and connect with artworks in the exhibition: Poulaphouca: New Paintings & Works on Paper by Wicklow-based, Texas born artist Sam Reveles.

The event began with a guided meditation facilitated by Suzanne Martius, Hatha Yoga practitioner. 

Guided meditation facilitated by Suzanne Martius.

This was followed with a Slow Art looking session and guided discussion facilitated by Jean Mann, Interim Learning and Public Engagement Curator at Butler Gallery.

Jean Mann, Interim Learning and Public Engagement Curator at Butler Gallery, facilitating slow observation of artwork “Elemental Span, 2018” by artist Sam Reveles.

We look forward to what Butler Gallery comes up with for Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley

Yoga & Meditative Creation for Slow Art Day at Wanås Konst in Sweden

For Slow Art Day 2019, Wanås Konst – Center for Art and Learning based in southern Sweden organized a full day focused on three main activities: yoga, slow art exploration, and meditative action painting.

The day started with the yoga session led by yoga instructor Risa Larsen, who focused on gaining new energy and a relaxed body and mind.

Then throughout the day, visitors were encouraged to choose five artworks in the sculpture park, taking the time to observe each slowly. 

Finally, in the afternoon, visitors were invited to the “Meditative Action Painting” workshop inspired by the Danish artist Jeppe Hein. Participants filled Tibetan singing bowls with colored water and used a ringer to slowly move around the edge of the bowl to create vibrations. These vibrations then created a work of art by sprinkling colored droplets onto a canvas underneath the bowl.

Meditative Action Painting Workshop
Photo credit: Elin Magnusson

Elin Magnusson, Head of Education at Wanås Konst, reported that many of the visitors stayed for the entire program.

We look forward to seeing what this site-specific, international contemporary art-focused organization has in store for their 2020 Slow Art Day.

– Ashley

First Slow Art Day for Colby College Museum of Art

Colby College Museum of Art hosted its first Slow Art Day last April and they used a simple design: for each of five artworks, participants looked for five minutes then talked for five minutes.

During the discussions, visitors shared stories about the new details they noticed – like the interior architecture of a building, background activities, color, reflection, light, sound, and perspective.

“Cigarette Girls,” Seville, 1895 by Walter Gay

2019 Slow Art Day at Colby included the following art:

  • “Columbus Circle at Night,” 2010 by Richard Estes
  • “Red Tree in High Winter,” 1968 by Alma Thomas
  • “Cigarette Girls,” Seville, 1895 by Walter Gay (pictured)
  • “Yellowstone Falls,” 1891 by Grafton Tyler Brown
  • “Ntozakhe II, Own Things or Everything,” Parktown, South Africa, 2016 by Zanele Muholi

After the slow looking sessions, the museum gathered everyone in the lobby for coffee, tea, and sweets.

We look forward to their second Slow Art Day in 2020.

– Ashley

Insightful Slow Art Day at AMP Studio

Valerie Arntzen, assemblage artist at AMP Studio in Vancouver, Canada, invited Slow Art Day 2019 participants to look at one of two pieces of her artwork slowly and then discuss the experience.

Not surprisingly, Valerie found — as Marcel Duchamp once said — that the “spectator completes the work of the artist.” In other words, the Slow Art Day participants were active co-creators of Valerie’s art bringing new and varied meaning and perspective.

It’s great to have artists and “spectators” directly interact via slow looking. In fact, we invite artists all over the world to open up their studios for Slow Art Day and hope that more will follow Valerie’s example next year.

– Ashley

Clare Gallery Hosts Successful Third Slow Art Day

The Clare Gallery in Hartford, Connecticut hosted its third Slow Art Day last April featuring an exhibit of works by Ann Grasso, “Begging Bowls and Offering Bowls.”

They came up with an interesting design for their session.

Here’s what they did:

  • Each participant chose one work from the exhibit to study individually for fifteen minutes.
  • Then the group moved from piece to piece with the “student” of that work describing their reflections, questions and connections.
  • Following the individual study and discussion, viewers then studied three works at length as a group.
  • At the end, the artist Ann Grasso herself, who had observed everything up to that point, joined the dialogue.

Grasso told participants that she was delighted by the many details, shapes, and cultural symbols they saw through her work (including, of course, some she herself did not see).

Here at Slow Art Day we encourage artists to participate like this as long as they do what Grasso did here: wait to the end to share their reflections (otherwise, the artist can overdetermine what the viewers see or don’t see).

Patricia Curtis, who helps run the gallery, said the day went well and they are looking forward to 2020.

“Participants seemed to lose themselves in the meaning of the works and thoroughly enjoyed hearing so many insights and interpretations.”

Patricia Curtis, Pastoral Associate to the Clare Gallery Committee

– Ashley

The Clare Gallery is a not-for-profit professional exhibition gallery located in the Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry in Connecticut.

Slow Art Day with Ceramics, Glass, and Mixed Media

The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada participated in their first Slow Art Day in 2019 by inviting visitors to slow down with ceramics, glass and mixed media from Canadian artists. 

After one hour of slow looking, visitors gathered for 30 minutes to discuss their observations about the material and meaning of the works, including the hidden qualities and stories they discovered.

According to The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, one participant said it was “exhilarating to meet new people and share so many diverse perspectives about the artwork.”

Photo Credit: Eleanor Zhang. Instagram: @eleanor.jing_zhang

We look forward to the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery’s participation again in 2020!

– Ashley