Hugs at Hawaii State Art Museum’s Fourth Slow Art Day

Hawaii State Art Museum hosted it’s fourth Slow Art Day in 2019, led by two museum guides who work for the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) arts education program.

The guides led two groups of participants through different slow-looking exercises. One group focused on portraits using Visual Thinking Strategies as prompts. The other group focused on narratives they developed while slowly looking at three selected artworks.

Afterward, participants were encouraged to share their observations and thoughts with each other, and all were given a card with Visual Thinking Strategy prompts to take home with them.

Photo of group in gallery – STATE OF ART: new work exhibit.
Photo Credit: State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. 
Photo of group by “Portrait of Edith Kanaka`ole” by Willson Stamper, oil painting, 1980. Art in Public Places Collection of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
Photo Credit: State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. 

Mamiko Carroll, Public Information Officer for the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, reported:

People who were total strangers at the beginning were sharing deep thoughts and feelings with each other at the end. Some of the participants even hugged each other goodbye!

We love to hear how Slow Art Day can bring people together around meaningfully shared experiences of slowly enjoying art, and look forward to Hawaii State Art Museum’s participation in 2020.

– Ashley

Newcastle Art Gallery in Australia Hosts Third Slow Art Day

Newcastle Art Gallery in Newcastle, Australia hosted a successful third Slow Art Day in 2019. Guide Gerda Maeder led a group of 25 participants to slowly view and discuss three selected artworks over the course of an hour:

  • Gloria Petyarre’s five-panel painting “Untitled (leaves)” from the FLORIBUNDA: from the collection exhibition
  • Tamara Dean’s photograph “Sacred Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) in Autumn” from the FLORIBUNDA: from the collection exhibition
  • Takashi Hinoda’s surrealist sculpture “Around the Clock” from the SODEISHA: connected to Australia exhibition

Participants openly shared their personal impressions of each work, and imagined themselves both as the artist and as the subject. They considered sounds that might be heard, feelings that had been provoked, and imagined how it would feel to touch or make the work.

Gerda reported:

“Each work stimulated discussion on the relationship of the artwork to individual people’s lives, as well as to general topics such as lifecycles, Aboriginality, and contemporary lifestyle.”

Participants applauded the event, and left the gallery with reaffirming statements such as:

“I feel really good now.”
“I enjoyed this!”
“When is this happening again?”

We love to hear that Slow Art Day brings such good feelings, and look forward to Newcastle Art Gallery’s participation in 2020.

– Ashley

Successful First Slow Art Day at InterAccess in Toronto

For their first Slow Art Day event, InterAccess in Toronto, Canada examined slow looking in relation to time-based media. They welcomed renowned artist Lisa Steele to the gallery to lead a two-hour tour of the exhibition of Daniel Young & Christian Giroux’s work Film Path / Camera Path with under-titles, which merges sculpture practice with film installation using high tech design and manufacturing technologies. 

First, Lisa Steele led a discussion with participants on slow looking, and invited them to read aloud the artist-contributed texts that accompanied the show, written by John Barlow, Ina Blom, Eric Cazdyn, Geoffrey Farmer, Agnieszka Gratza, Daniel Hambleton, Erín Moure, Bridget Moser, Judy Radul, Patricia Reed, Reza Negarestani, Mohammad Salemy, and Michael Snow.

Next, the visitors were encouraged to take time viewing the three different components of Young & Giroux’s work in the gallery – the film screen, the mechanical sculpture, and an LED sign displaying the texts the participants had read earlier in the session.

Image by Jennifer Toole. Courtesy of InterAccess.

We love to hear how organizations promote slow looking across diverse media, and look forward to seeing what InterAccess has in store for Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley

Drawing Encourages Slow Looking at The Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, one of the Smithsonian Institution’s 19 museums in Washington, DC, participated in its second annual Slow Art Day by merging two of their existing programs that encourage slow looking: How to Look at Art and Hirshhorn/DRAW.

The museum’s Slow Art Day event led 150 participants through four simultaneous 30-60 minute sessions paired with a single artwork. Participants were given tips on how to slowly enjoy artwork without having any background information on the work. They were also provided with seats and drawing materials, and were invited to slow down and enjoy the works through drawing.

Participants drawing one of the selected works at the Hirshhorn’s Slow Art Day event.

A Smithsonian Fulbright Fellow participant stated:

“I am extremely grateful for the family-friendly drawing programs – my kids benefited more than I did! My 10 year-old spent 45 minutes drawing (she forgot that she said she was hungry) and was very proud of herself.”

We love to hear how Slow Art Day events foster joy and creativity, and can’t wait to see what The Hirshhorn has in store for Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley

Slow Looking at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre in Australia

For their second Slow Art Day event, the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre in Murwillumbah, Australia facilitated three slow-looking sessions focused on different exhibitions throughout the day: one focused on the full collection, a second focused on artist Maria Kontis’s drawing exhibition, and a third focused on the Margaret Olley Art Centre.

Slow Art Day participants discussing works at the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre

In addition to Slow Art Day, the Gallery’s Education and Audience Development Officer Jodi Ferrari has been programming Slow Art Experiences at the Gallery over the past year. Jodi reports that these experiences are valuable for a wide range of audiences, and mentioned that the gallery also uses the slow art format for engagement with visitors living with dementia and their care partners.

We love to hear how organizations extend the art of looking slowly beyond our global Slow Art Day – especially applications for health and wellness – and look forward to the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre’s participation in 2020.

– Ashley

Norwalk Arts Commission Hosts Slow-looking of WPA Murals

The Norwalk Arts Commission in Norwalk, CT, hosted its first Slow Art Day in their City Hall Galleries, which holds one of the largest and most important collections of restored Depression-era Works Project Administration (WPA) murals in the country.

Docent Melissa Slattery started the event by giving a talk about WPA artists, then guided participants to slowly enjoy several beach-themed murals by WPA artist Alexander Rummler. They followed with a discussion of their experience over brunch.

Docent Melissa Slattery gives a talk about Alexander Rummler’s Self-Portrait.
Photo: Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

We look forward to Norwalk Arts Commission’s participation in 2020!

– Ashley

The Power Plant Hosts Successful Third Slow Art Day; and Mid-year Roundtable with Phil Terry

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, Ontario, Canada hosted a successful third Slow Art Day in 2019, led by Kendra Campbell, TD Curator of Education & Outreach Fellow. Kendra guided participants to look slowly at one work of art in each of three exhibitions: Shuvinai Ashoona: Mapping WorldsAlicia Henry: Witnessing; and Omar Ba: Same Dream.

She then led a group discussion about the participants’ perceptions of slow looking. They discussed their personal connections with the artworks, which revealed startling similarities.

Participants viewing work from Shuvinai Ashoona: Mapping Worlds.
Slow Art Day 2019 at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Saturday, April, 6, 2019.
Participants viewing work from Alicia Henry: Witnessing.
Slow Art Day 2019 at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Saturday, April, 6, 2019.

On Wednesday, July 3, 2019, The Power Plant also hosted Phil Terry, the founder of Slow Art Day, for a roundtable discussion with Toronto-area organizations that have hosted, or aspire to host, their own Slow Art Day. Each of the educators and curators talked about their designs for Slow Art Day, and what worked and what did not.

Phil Terry, center back of the table, meets with Toronto host venues at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Photo: Josh Heuman.

The Power Plant’s new TD Fellow, Laura Demers, will be ready to guide the next Slow Art Day on Saturday 4, April 2020, and we look forward to seeing what she has in store for the event.

– Ashley

Philadelphia Slows Down to Reveal the Magic of Mosaic

For Slow Art Day 2019 Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens’ Garden Guide Rob led a group of 15 people in a slow-looking activity focusing on a portion of the beautiful mosaic that encompasses the entire folk art environment and gallery space on South Street in Philadelphia.

Portion of mosaic wall by Isaiah Zagar, Philadelphia Magic Gardens

After slowly taking in all the details of the portion Rob had chosen, the guests then shared what they saw including certain tiles and shapes that are typically overlooked. That was their first discovery of the day: slow looking can make the invisible visible (and cause participants to wonder at how much we humans do not see unless we slow down). Rob also pointed out and gave background on additional often-unseen elements.

Their second and, perhaps, biggest discovery of the day – the “aha” moment – came when the participants realized that through their slow looking in the mirror pieces they themselves had become part of the mosaic. 

We look forward to the Philadelphia Magic Gardens Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley

OCAD University’s Slow Art Day Reveals Tiny Details

OCAD University Gallery in Toronto hosted a successful second Slow Art Day in 2019. They reported that both participants and guides alike enjoyed slowing down.

Both guides and participants were encouraged to look and then talk about the artworks. They made several discoveries.

First, they found how each person’s way of seeing the world affected the experience. In other words, slowing down helped them see not only the art but themselves and each other in new ways.

They also learned how the art of slow looking can reveal even the smallest details and “nuances” that seem invisible at first and then almost magically appear the longer you look.

“In the quietness of looking, our eyes wandered and caught the tiniest details in hopes of deciphering hidden nuances.”

Khadijah Morley, OCAD University Gallery Staff Member
Installation view: How to Breathe Forever, Onsite Gallery, OCAD University, Toronto, 2019 (Photo: Yuula Benivolski)

We look forward to OCAD University’s participation in Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley