Youth Lead Art Institute of Chicago’s Third Slow Art Day

The Art Institute of Chicago had a stellar third Slow Art Day, with 377 visitors of all ages participating in a three hour event designed and led by *13* teenagers.

Statue of a Young Satyr Wearing a Theater Mask of Silenos, ca. 1st century CE. Anonymous sculptor, with 1628 restorations by Alessandro Algardi

The teen guides selected 6 artworks to feature from across the museum’s broad collection. With support from the museum’s staff, they generated conversation starters with participants, posed open-ended questions, and employed strategies to keep visitors engaged throughout the experience.

 Frans Snyder, Still Life with Dead Game, Fruits, and Vegetables in a Market 1614
Glenn Ligon, Stranger in the Village #13

We often hear that slow looking is not for young people – they don’t have the time or attention. They are digital natives and not interested in real space. But many Slow Art Day museums have successfully run programs with teenagers and kids as young as four or five years old, and with this event, the Art Institute of Chicago proves yet again that art is – and must be – for everyone.

We look forward to seeing what the Art Institute comes up with for Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley

Magaliesburg’s Multi-sensory Slow Art Day 2019

Gallery owner Hannelie Hartman welcomed participants of all ages to the third Slow Art Day at MelonRouge in Magaliesburg, South Africa.

The event was facilitated by Dr. Sonja Brink, a Learning through Play Ambassador for the Lego Foundation, who, when not involved in Slow Art Day, teaches the Setswana language to South African children and adults through song and movement.

Working with MelonRouge, she came up with a creative multi-sensory design that started with a brief talk on the link between art and information through the ages. She discussed ways to use art to cultivate focus and presence when feeling overwhelmed by technology overload (Ed: this is one of the key reasons Slow Art Day was started a decade ago – to create an antidote to technology’s growing dominance).

After Dr. Brink’s talk, participants were then blindfolded and given a fragrant piece of clay to smell and touch in order to kickstart their senses for the multi-sensory slow looking program they were about to experience.

Blindfolds were then removed and participants starting looking at a painting titled “Injasuthi Valley,” by artist Frances Wedepohl (below). As they slowly gazed, viewers were encouraged to touch and smell a variety of natural materials, including grasses and branches.

“Injasuthi Valley,” by artist Frances Wedepohl

Next, Dr. Brink brought the participants to slowly experience artwork by artist trio Louisa Staude, Louel Staude, and Heinz Schnölzer, titled “An Ode to Fynbos” (below). Visitors were invited to immerse themselves in the essence of this art through exploring the textures, smells and music composed specifically for the installation.

“An Ode to Fynbos” by artist trio Louisa and Louel Staude, and Heinz Schnölzer

Then, during the third viewing, participants were encouraged to taste a range of sweet, sour, and salty candies while slowly savoring artist Trevor Rose’s tryptic titled, “Life’s Journey” (below).

“Life’s Journey” by artist Trevor Rose

With the level of detail, playfulness, and creative multi-sensory focus, this Slow Art Day 2019 was a “resounding success”, with Dr. Brink noting that for both her and the participants “it was amazing!”

We look forward to whatever creative designs MelonRouge and Dr. Brink come up with for Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley

Insightful Day at Columbia Museum of Art

Slow Art Day 2019 at the Columbia Museum of Art attracted a small but very invested group of participants. At each stop along the way they experienced the art from a different perspective, whether a deep visual dive, a multi-sensory experience, or a complex conversation about the details within a piece.

The participant conversations were fruitful, and resulted in insights that the docents used in later tours.

We look forward to Columbia Museum of Art’s participation in 2020!

– Ashley

Slow Art Therapy in São Paulo, Brazil

For Slow Art Day 2019, artist and holistic pyschotherapist Henrique Vieira Filho invited groups of up to six participants at a time into the intimacy of his studio, HVF Artes, located in São Paulo, Brazil.

He chose what he thought were the most impactful works and guided participants to slowly observe each piece.

Some participants also chose a quiet session of art therapy.

After slow observation, refreshments were served and guests were invited to talk about the experience of slow looking with the artist.

This was a very interesting design and we look forward to more Brazilian gallery and museum participation in 2020.

– Ashley

Yoga and Ceramics at B-galleria in Turku, Finland

For their third Slow Art Day, B-galleria in Turku, the former capital city of Finland, held a yoga workshop where participants could take a deep breath, stretch their bodies, and look slowly at surrounding works of art.

After the yoga workshop, participants slowly observed B-galleria’s scholarship holder Aino Ojala’s exhibition Seassa / Among, which consisted of ceramic replicas of parts of the skin of the artist and her friends. Studying this work closely obviously made for a unique slow viewing experience.

We look forward to what B-galleria chooses for its art and slow looking design for 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

Philadelphia Museum of Art Combines Poetry, Music, and Visual Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art creatively integrated music and poetry with their 2019 Slow Art Day in celebration of National Poetry Month. 

“Since poems slow us down to consider individual words, phrases, and the structure of language, we thought this would be a great way to encourage slow looking,” said Greg Stuart, Museum Educator and Public Programs Coordinator.

Slow Art Day participants were asked to focus on a single work of art for 45 minutes while experiencing an in-gallery music performance. They were then also encouraged to participate in poetry writing workshops and a bookmaking program.

Candy Alexandra Gonzalez, a local poet and visual artist, encouraged participants to create a collaborative book by writing and drawing about things in their lives that they wished moved at a slower pace.

Collaborative book created by Slow Art Day participants.

One visitor said: 

“This was great for me and my eight year old daughter. It helped us look at the art more closely and talk about it together. Thank you!”

We couldn’t be happier to hear of such a successful multimedia, multi-sensory Slow Art Day, and look forward to what the Philadelphia Art Museum creates for Slow Art Day 2020.

Ashley