This year marked the first Slow Art Day at the Kelowna Art Gallery in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Alison Trim, visual artist and graduate student in the MFA program at UBCO in Kelowna, along with the Gallery’s Public Programming Assistant Ryan Trafananko together hosted an afternoon that combined art exploration and information about the Poetics of Space exhibition.
Trim and Trafanako reported that many participants loved learning the art of slowing down and fully experiencing art — especially with this exhibition, which focused on the experience, creation, and dynamics of space.
We were very happy to hear that their first Slow Art Day went well, and are looking forward to Kelowna Art Gallery’s participation in 2020.
For their first Slow Art Day, the Byron School of Art Project Space in Mullumbimby – a small Australian town well-known for its artist colony – combined several multi-sensory activities along with food and yoga.
They started Slow Art Day with an artist talk by Marlene Sarroff whose exhibition 365 Days: You Get What You Choose is a meditation on everyday practice. Marlene spoke about her long history of working and exhibiting in artist-run spaces, about finding materials whilst not seeking them, and also about being awake to possibility.
After Marlene’s talk, participants began something organizers called The Slow Art Challenge. The challenge started with five minutes of silent looking at one artwork, then followed that with a group discussion. Next, participants took a few moments to enjoy cups of tea together, and then reconvened in pairs to observe a second chosen work in silence. For the final segment, they listened to music while looking at another artwork, and then held another discussion after that multi-sensory experience.
And as if this were not enough, their Slow Art Day finished with an evening Slow Flow Yoga Class led by yoga instructor Shien Chee from Seeker + Kind yoga studio, their neighbor two doors down. Chee and Meredith Cusack, BSA Project Space Coordinator, wanted to integrate yoga, sound, smells, and sight. They came up with the idea of using the art as a way to talk about drishti (gaze point). As a result, Chee built her class around changing drishti – looking at different works, but also from different positions, and heights. Wow.
The Byron School of Art Project Space had such a good – and creative – first Slow Art Day that participants asked if they would do the exercises for other exhibitions, which they plan to do. They also look forward to participating in Slow Art Day 2020 and we look forward to having them back. They are a wonderful addition to the global slow looking movement.
The Frye Art Museum in Seattle, WA combined looking, drawing, and shared discussion for their Slow Art Day 2019.
The museum chose a single artwork in their current exhibition Tschabalala Self as a focus.
Each person then participated in three connected activities:
a close-looking session
a detailed artwork discussion rooted in Visual Thinking Strategies
a drawing activity and discussion with a partner (to see the drawing activity they used, watch this video here…the drawing assignment begins at about minute 3)
During the drawing portion, one participant noted it was “meaningful to exchange our drawing with a partner, interpret each other’s, then explain our own.” The museum also provided a self-guided form for visitors to lead their own slow looking art exploration.
Caroline Byrd who works in the Education Department at the museum says, “Slow Art Day is an accessible, inventive, and community-oriented opportunity that we continue to look forward to each year.” We couldn’t have said it better and appreciate the creativity they brought to the design of their day.
Slow Art Day 2019 this year was celebrated in hundreds of museums and galleries from The Rubin Museum in NYC, to the Tate Modern in London, to a small museum in the rural Basque countryside, the Ur Mara Museoa.
Elena Cajaraville sent us this lovely 60 second video, which shows the Ur Mara’s slow and long day filled with art, food, music, and dance.
I guarantee it will put you in a good mood and show you some of the magic of this global/local Slow Art Day phenomenon.
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Slow Art Day 2018 begins in about 12 hours in Australia and China.
Then as the sun rises across the world more and more events come online in Africa, Europe, then North America and South America until finally more than 205 museums, galleries, sculpture parks, libraries and churches have together celebrated the power of slowly looking at – and loving – art.