First Official Slow Art Day in Bordeaux

On April 13th, Simone Raskin, art consultant and trainer at the Gallery L’Art de Regarder, organized the first official Slow Art Day in Bordeaux, sponsored by the Mairie de Bordeaux (the Bordeaux Town Hall) and hosted at the Espace Saint Rémi.

The Espace Saint Rémi was a church before the French Revolution and has over the centuries transformed into what is now a cultural center for exhibitions. Since 1991, the space has hosted a yearly photography exhibition titled Itinéraires des Photographes Voyageurs, which was created and organized by Nathalie Lamire-Fabre and Vincent Bengold as part of the first Mois de la Photo de Bordeaux (month of photography in Bordeaux).

The slow looking focused on the following 6 works from the photography exhibition:

  • Patrick Cockpit, “Pasaran, une dystopie franquiste” 
  • Lise Dua, “Les loyautés & Une vie”
  • Charlotte Auricombe, “Cau Del Llop” 
  • Benoît Capponi, “Toutes les heures blessent”
  • Sladjana Stankovic, “La Douce
  • Thierry Girard, “The Tenjin Omuta Line” 
Photo credit: Simone Raskin

The Slow Art Day event was not promoted separately, so Simone greeted the 250+ visitors with an explanation of slow looking, and invited participants to sit in chairs that were arranged in front of the works. She provided them with the following prompts to guide their experience:

  • What’s going on in this picture?
  • What is it that attracts you in this particular photography?
  • What is the mood of the photo?
  • What are the colors? What do they evoke to you?
  • What is the composition of this photo?
  • If you were to say one word about this photo, what would it be?
  • Does it remind you of a painting, a souvenir, a memory, a personal experience?

Below are some of the works in the event:

“Pasaran, une dystopie franquiste” by Patrick Cockpit

Les loyautés & Une vie” by Lise Dua

Cau Del Llop” by Charlotte Auricombe

La Douce“by Sladjana Stankovic

“The Tenjin Omuta Line” by Thierry Girard

Simone reported that many of the participants thanked her for the event, and they were quite appreciative for the prompts that she provided. Several mentioned that they would try slow looking at future museum visits.

At Slow Art Day HQ we are so glad to hear that the event was so well-received and look forward to whatever Simone Raskin, Mairie de Bordeaux, or Espace Saint Rémi plan for Slow Art Day 2025!

– Jessica Jane, Johanna, Ashley, and Phyl

Slow Art Day 2024 is Today!

Yay!

Slow Art Day is *today* around the world – Silicon Valley, Berlin, New York, Cleveland, Boston, London, Singapore, Philadelphia, Australia, Washington D.C., Miami, South Africa, Rome, Paris, Brazil, Mexico, Los Angeles, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium…Bloomington, Illinois (where 20 galleries and museums are participating) to name just a few of the hundreds of museums, galleries, sculpture parks, universities hosting Slow Art Day today.

Small galleries (like the 20 in Bloomington, Illinois), small museums (like the Foster in Palo Alto), and big museums (like the Met in New York, The AGO in Toronto, or The Altes Museum in Berlin) are all hosting.

We started this movement 15 years ago with a simple aim: help more people learn how to look at and love art (and to support the educators and curators who share the same passion).

We are proud of how this movement has grown and created cultural space in the art world for the simple act of slowing down and looking.

So – happy Slow Art Day to all of you at all the museums, galleries, sculpture parks, universities, street art organizations who make Slow Art Day happen around the world. You are the heroes of the art world doing the important work of helping everyone slow down with art.

We look forward to getting your reports – photos, descriptions, etc – so we can continue to help you learn from and inspire each other.

Best,

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

P.S. If you have not yet registered your Slow Art Day 2024 with us, then go to this page.

P.P.S. Our 2023 Annual Report is out. Read it and get inspired!

Euro Slow Art Day 2024

Slow Art Day 2024 is tomorrow, Saturday, April 13 and yet again there are an amazing variety of museums, galleries, churches, cities, sculpture parks joining us from around the world (see the full list) – including across Europe.

To name just a few across that continent…

There are three cities hosting citywide Slow Art Days – Antwerp, Belgium (*8* locations), Reims, France (*4* locations), Rome, Italy (*3* museums).

Some countries are hosting multiple sites including Belgium (*11* locations including Antwerp), Sweden (*8* locations), Italy (*7* locations including Rome), England (*6* locations), Germany (*5* locations including 2 in Berlin), Spain (*4* locations), Ireland (*3* locations), Denmark (*2* locations).

Then Ukraine, Slovenia and several other countries have single sites for Slow Art Day 2024.

Here’s details on just two of these locations:

Altes Museum – Berlin

The Altes Museum (English: Old Museum) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was originally built between 1825 and 1830. It’s in the heart of Berlin on the museum island. For their Slow Art Day they are running a workshop in the Greek and Roman galleries.

And I love this – the “prerequisite” for participation in this workshop is “curiosity and goodwill towards yourself.” Lovely. Led by the art therapists Naira Bloss and Ulla Utasch, the workshop includes a short guided relaxation exercise, slow looking at selected ancient art, then followed by an in-depth discussion.

Sweden Nationalmuseum

The Swedish Nationalmuseum is hosting another art chill in their beautiful Sculpture Courtyard. They are providing yoga mats and an optional soundtrack.

These are just a few of the hundreds of places hosting events around the world this year.

And, of course, you can run your own personal Slow Art Day anywhere anytime. 

We hope you have a wonderful Slow Art Day 2024.

– Phyl 

P.S. If you have not yet registered your Slow Art Day with us, then go to this page.

P.P.S. Our 2023 Annual Report is out. Read it and get inspired!

Slow Art Day across the U.S. East Coast

Slow Art Day 2024 is coming up this Saturday, April 13 and yet again there are an amazing variety of museums, galleries, churches, cities, sculpture parks joining us from around the world (see the full list) – including across the East Coast of the United States.

To name just a few across the East Coast…

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Met Cloisters will be hosting again in New York City.

Mass MoCA will be hosting again in North Adams, MA while the Worcester Art Museum will yet again produce a Slow Art Day in that city. The beautiful and wonderful Athenaeum will be hosting in Boston. Connecticut and New Jersey supports several locations including the Grounds for Sculpture.

Philadelphia has a nascent citywide including The Barnes Foundation, Glenn Foerd, and the Magic Gardens.

In Washington D.C., the National Museum of Women in the Arts is hosting yet again (they are one the founding museums for Slow Art Day). Virginia and North Carolina have multiple locations across those states while Florida hosts *7* different venues including the Frost Art Museum and the Lowe Art Museum both in Miami.

Here are a few locations –

Mass MoCA

This year, Mass MoCA has created two ways to experience Slow Art Day:

  1. Slow Looking Tours
  2. A paired audiowalk they are calling “Where I End & You Begin,” which requires advance reservations.

The museum has had a close relationship with artist James Turrell and with the now-deceased Professor Arden Reed who wrote a terrific book, “Slow Art : The Experience of Looking, Sacred Images to James Turrell”, which talks about Slow Art Day (and for which I gave a blurb on the back cover).

James Turrell, “Once Around, Violet (Shallow Space),” 1971.

Barnes Foundation

The Barnes always produces a thoughtful and interesting Slow Art Day (and we are in conversations with them about a conference – stay tuned for more details).

This year, when participants arrive, they will receive a list of five paintings for self-guided slow looking. They will be encouraged to spend an hour or so looking, and then will be invited to a discussion in the Herbert and Joyce Kean Family Classroom. That discussion will be led by Barnes senior instructor Michael Williamson.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Before the Bath (detail), c. 1875. BF9. Public Domain.

National Museum of Women in the Arts

We love the National Museum of Women in the Arts – they are founders of the Slow Art Day movement and they have led the global re-awakening to the centuries-old role of women artists.

Their event this year is sold out. So, if you live in Washington, DC then plan ahead for their Slow Art Day 2025.

Deborah Butterfield, Big Horn, 2006; Cast bronze, 92 x 114 x 41 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of Jacqueline Badger Mars in honor of Wilhelmina Cole Holladay; © Deborah Butterfield; Image courtesy of L.A. Louver

Boston Athenaeum

The Boston Athenaeum, which combines a library, with a museum and cultural center, is hosting Slow Art Day in their landmark building.

They will be focusing on a single painting by Boston artist Allan Rohan Crite.

Worcester Art Museum

Our friends at Juniper Rag are co-sponsoring a Slow Art Day at the Worcester Art Museum. The WAM will be focusing their slow looking event on the new Terrain Exhibition, which features 21st-Century landscape photographers and how these contemporary artists use different photographic processes to explore the idea of landscape.

Frost Art Museum

For their *13th* Slow Art Day (Frost is one of the founding museums of this slow looking movement), Frost will feature performances by Miami-based artists Smita Sen (pictured on the right – below), who explores the relationship between the body and memory through sculpture and technology, and Agua Dulce (left – below), a Miami-based artist who uses organic materials to blur the line between the mystical and mundane.

These are just a few of the hundreds of places hosting events around the world this year.

And, of course, you can run your own personal Slow Art Day anywhere anytime. 

We hope you have a wonderful Slow Art Day 2024.

– Phyl 

P.S. If you have not yet registered your Slow Art Day with us, then go to this page.

P.P.S. Our 2023 Annual Report is out. Read it and get inspired!

From Athens to South Africa to Toronto and Beyond

Slow Art Day 2024 is coming up this Saturday, April 13 and yet again there are an amazing variety of museums, galleries, churches, cities, sculpture parks are joining us (see the full list) – including places in Athens, South Africa, and Toronto.

Athens

The Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens is premiering the first Slow Art Day in the Greek capital (other Greek cities have hosted – but this year is a first for Athens). The collection features the amazing modern art collected by now-deceased shipowner Basil Goulandris and his wife Elise Karadontis (read this article for more information on their event).

Here’s the simple image they are using to promote their Slow Art Day:

South Africa

The Melon Rouge Gallery in South Africa always produces a great Slow Art Day – and a great poster.

Here’s their 2024 poster:

Toronto – Art Gallery of Ontario

The AGO, one of the largest museums in North America, will be hosting their 9th Slow Art Day and have chosen this terrific image.

These are just a few of the hundreds of places hosting events this year.

And, of course, you can run your own personal Slow Art Day anywhere anytime.

We hope you have a wonderful Slow Art Day 2024.

– Phyl 

P.S. If you have not yet registered your Slow Art Day with us, then go to this page.

P.P.S. Our 2023 Annual Report is out. Read it and get inspired!

Rome Joins the Citywide Slow Art Day Movement

Rome (Italy) has joined the citywide Slow Art Day movement!

Valentina Gnesutta, the Art Historical Curator for the Directorate of Civic Museums for the city of Rome, reached out to let us know that they are hosting special events in three of their museums for Slow Art Day 2024.

The three Roman museums participating in their coordinated citywide Slow Art Day are:

The citywide movement began in Antwerp, Belgium with museums, and now churches, and then took a big leap in Bloomington, Illinois, which is now hosting 20 museums and galleries for their coordinated Slow Art Day (they deserve a lot of credit for building the largest citywide, which is likely to go statewide soon).

Taking inspiration from Bloomington and Antwerp, other cities like Rome and California’s Saratoga are embracing the citywide movement.

And, of course, this year’s Slow Art Day is coming up this Saturday, April 13. There are major museums, sculpture parks, galleries, churches, and cities all coming together to help the world slow down and learn to look at and love art.

We hope you have a wonderful Slow Art Day 2024 wherever you are in the world – and that you take inspiration from Valentina Gnesutta and hundreds of others across every continent who are leading the efforts to expand our movement.

– Phyl 

P.S. If you have not yet registered your Slow Art Day with us, then go to this page.

P.P.S. Our Annual Report is out. Read it and get inspired!

Antwerp’s Church-Based Slow Art Day Movement

Slow Art Day 2024 is coming soon and will be happening all over the world and in every kind of setting – including but not limited to museums, galleries, sculpture parks, colleges and universities, street art, and a small but growing number of churches.

Further, more cities are hosting citywide Slow Art Days – from Bloomington, Illinois to Philadelphia, PA, to Antwerp, Belgium, and for the first time, Rome (more on Rome next week).

Antwerp has a total of 8 museums and churches participating this year.

In fact, the churches participating in Antwerp represent the beginnings of the church wing of the Slow Art Day movement – for which we must give credit to Armand Storck, scriptor for Sint-Pauluskerk (St. Paul’s) in Antwerp, Belgium.

Storck has hosted *six* previous Slow Art Day events and passionately believes that churches are a natural home for Slow Art Day. “Not only are many churches brimming with works of art, but the locations themselves naturally invite reflection. The slow, sensory perception is a way to arrive at the (religious) meaning of a work of art. Time runs almost noticeably slower in our churches than in the world outside,” said Storck.

We at Slow Art Day HQ couldn’t agree more.

And we are happy to report that as a result of Storck’s efforts to evangelize Slow Art Day to other churches, this year there are *four* churches in Antwerp participating, each of which have gone through preparation and training coordinated by an organization called the Tourism Pastoral and Monumental Churches Antwerp.

Storck wisely decided to expand to more churches in Antwerp first and then find ways to bring more churches around the world into the Slow Art Day fold in future years.

Below is Storck’s description of what each of the four Antwerp churches are doing for Slow Art Day.

Slow Art Day in 4 Churches in Antwerp
by Armand Storck

Sint-Andrieskerk (St. Andrew’s) unveils the painting The Martyrdom of Saint Andrew by Otto Van Veen and compares it to his modello. Children go in search of the mother and grandmother of Jesus, at the altar of Saint Anne.  The sessions are free and start at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

St. Charles Borromeo focuses on the paintings of the St. Francis Xavier altar. Slow Art Day sessions will be held at 2:15 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. This activity is included in the entrance ticket to the church.

Sint-Jacob goes for three works of art: a sculpture, a funerary monument of the Marquis de Velasco (Pieter I Scheemaekers), a painting, triptych The Last Judgement (Jan Sanders van Hemessen) and a stained-glass window, The Last Supper (Draeck – anonymous). The Slow Art sessions are free and start at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4:15 pm. There will also be a unique viewing moment at 4 p.m., when the shutters of the triptych The Last Judgement will be closed for fifteen minutes, making the back exceptionally visible.

In St. Paul’s, the guides will bring visitors to the pulpit of the Antwerp sculptors De Boeck & Van Wint (see photo below). They became famous for their later Stations of the Cross, made the large church furniture in 1874 and decorated it with beautiful Bible scenes. Fascinating for young and old. The church (see second photo below taken during the 2024 Easter services) is open free of charge from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., the guided sessions start every half hour (last at 4:30 p.m.).

We hope you have a wonderful Slow Art Day 2024 wherever you are in the world – and that you take inspiration from Armand Storck and his colleagues in Antwerp who are leading the efforts to expand our movement.

– Phyl

P.S. If you have not yet registered your Slow Art Day with us, then go to this page.

P.P.S. Our Annual Report is out. Read it and get inspired!

Bloomington Plans *20* Citywide Venues

For the 15th annual Slow Art Day coming up in less than two weeks, Bloomington, Illinois, the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois Route 66 Commission and others (see poster below) have organized under the leadership of gallerist Pamala Eaton and others, more than 20 – that’s right, 20! – participating galleries and museums.

Pamala and her husband Herb launched the first Slow Art Day in Bloomington in the spring of 2020, at the height of the pandemic with a “Window Walk-By.” They placed art in their gallery window and asked people to walk, cycle, or drive slowly by and look. That initial creative effort during Covid has bloomed into what is now the largest citywide Slow Art Day in the world.

When I asked Pamala Eaton why she has put so much energy into spearheading the growth of Slow Art Day, she talked about her passion for art, which has taken root since her retirement from her first career as a teacher and physical education instructor. She now strongly believes that experiencing art, especially slowly, can be very powerful for everyone including the uninitiated. In other words, Eaton shares both the love of art *and* the spirit of radical inclusivity that guides so many of us.

That passion has also driven Eaton to build and extend the artist community in Bloomington as a way to grow Slow Art Day. In the early years of hosting, Eaton connected with artist Janean Baird, who hosted and then brought together the growing Slow Art Day movement with the historic Route 66 commission, which took up the effort and promoted it wider. Then another artist and gallerist, Santino Lamancusa, began to design the terrific posters (see above) and host after-events with artists and others thereby further growing the community.

Bit by bit, brick by brick, show by show, Eaton, Baird, Lamancusa and others grew Slow Art Day in Bloomington from one gallery in 2021, to nine in 2022, to 15 in 2023, and now 20 in 2024.

But there’s more.

Eaton and her colleagues in Bloomington have inspired other cities around the world, including much bigger cities (we were just contacted by one of Europe’s grandest cities about a coordinated citywide – more about that in the next week or so).

We hope you have a wonderful and slow 2024 art day wherever you are in the world – and that you take inspiration from how Eaton and the 20 galleries and museums in Bloomington have turned Slow Art Day into a citywide celebration.

– Phyl

P.S. If you have not yet registered your Slow Art Day with us, then go to this page.

P.P.S. Our Annual Report is out. Read it and get inspired!

Run Your Own Personal Slow Art Day

You can run a personal Slow Art Day any day of the year. All you need is our simple slow looking algorithm (we use that term with a bit of a wink), which we have honed over decades (see below).

To help you understand how this works, I’ll walk you through how I and the Slow Art Day core volunteer team did our own Slow Art Day at MoMA (and other museums) in 2022.

Ashley, Phyl and Jessica Jane on their way to MoMA. Photo taken by Johanna.

Here’s how it works

Pick a museum, gallery, church, sculpture park, street art scene, or other venue.

Then organize your group. We recommend groups of 4 (although you can do it with 2) and if you have more than 4, then break up into smaller groups. (Note: yes, you can do this by yourself.)

Once your groups are formed and you have arrived at your venue, then here are the steps.

  • Assign a “selector” for the first gallery/section/spot
    The ‘selector’ is the person temporarily assigned to select an artwork for everyone to look at slowly.
  • Then everyone looks around for a few minutes
    Ask everyone to look around the spot for a few minutes while the selector chooses a single piece to focus on.
  • Look slowly at the chosen piece
    Once the selector has made their choice, everyone spends 5 to 10 minutes looking together at the chosen artwork.
  • Talk to each other
    Once the slow looking has ended, then the selector begins the conversation about the experience. Simply ask: what did you see? You don’t need experts and you don’t need to moderate. Just listen to each other. People will have a lot to say. Let them say it. In fact, this is a wonderful moment. You will build intimacy and trust as you learn how each other sees and thinks.
  • Choose the next selector, move to the next gallery, and repeat

That’s it. Really simple. Nothing else required. 

If you want to get a sense of this in action, then below are my notes on one of our slow looking session at MoMA.

Thanks!

Phyl
Founder, Slow Art Day


On that day in 2022, the group of us went to MoMA and, as you can see in the photo above, we dressed up. Note: If you dress up like we were – then you’ll likely draw a crowd whenever you slow down to look at a piece of art intensively. That’s certainly what happened to us. No matter what we looked at, it became a temporary “Starry Night” or “Mona Lisa” with big crowds assembling to figure out why everyone is looking (note: this is a great way to get visitors to pay more attention to less well-known art).

Gallery 1: Johanna (selector)

At MoMA, Johanna was the selector for the first gallery we visited. She skipped “Starry Night” and chose Edvard Munch’s “The Storm” (1893). Everyone knows Munch’s “The Scream.” Fewer know “The Storm” and we were glad to bring more attention to this terrific painting.

Edvard Munch, The Storm, 1893
Slow looking at Munch’s “The Storm” at MoMA. Photo by Johanna.

In our discussion after the slow look, we of course learned more about this artwork and more about each other. Johanna and Jessica Jane were the best at noticing detail. Meanwhile, Phyl showed their sensitivity to color, while Ashley’s eye for design picked up composition and texture. 

We finished this first session feeling more connected to each other, and to the art. It was beautiful.

Gallery 2: Jessica Jane (selector)

We then moved to the next gallery, where Jessica Jane was the selector. And so it went as we slowly looked our way through MoMA, the Met, the Whitney, The Barnes Foundation (in Philadelphia), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.  

From top left – Phyl, Jessica Jane, Ashley and Johanna at MoMA; all of us with Linnea West and Greg Stuart at The Philadelphia Museum of Art; all of us with Lisa Dombrow at the Whitney Museum; and all of us with Bill Perthes at The Barnes Foundation.

Special thanks to the educators who hosted us along the way, including:

  • Bill Perthes, Director of Adult Education at The Barnes Foundation
  • Linnea West, Manager of Adult Public Programs, Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Greg Stuart, Coordinator of Adult Public Programs, Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Lisa Dombrow, play activist, educator, and volunteer at MoMA and AMNH (and original ‘slow looker’)

If you do a slow looking session, then post about it and tag SlowArtDay!

– Phyl, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Johanna

2023 Slow Art Day Annual Report – Get Inspired!

We are proud to publish our 2023 Annual Report, representing hundreds of hours of work by volunteers to research, compile, and write-up the thousands of hours of creative work of educators and curators around the world.

More than 193 museums and galleries participated in 2023 (plus many more that ran Slow Art Day sessions but did not register with us).

And we researched, wrote, and published reports from 41 of these museums and galleries, which is what you will find in this report.

So, read this and get inspired by what a wide range of museums and galleries did last year including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Sweden’s Nationalmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Europe’s largest museum complex), The Frederiksberg Museum in Copenhagen, the 15-site citywide Slow Art Day in Bloomington, Illinois, to name just a few.

And please join me in thanking the volunteer team who worked tirelessly all year long to produce this report: Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Johanna. This global team deserve much thanks (please comment or write to me so I can share with them your appreciation ;-).

Thanks!

Phyl

P.S. Read earlier annual reports including: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019 (we only started producing these in 2019, nine years after the official launch of Slow Art Day).