For their third Slow Art Day, the Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, organized a variety of interesting, student-led slow looking activities.
On April 2nd, visitors to the galleries were invited on a Slow Art Day Tour between 1-2PM to look at and discuss some visiting artworks from the exhibition Young, Gifted and Black together with Sam Ginn and Cassidy Rubio, both museum educators and students at Lehigh University.
Visitors were also separately given the change to join a Connect & Create Workshop with Lehigh student Afiwa Afandalo and the group Artists for Change.
For that workshop, participants read a short written piece connected to the theme, then discussed how a selection of artists engage with ideas of community in their work. In the final part of the session, they created an art piece (written or visual) that represented the influence of community on identity or vice versa. Participants considered their roles as community members, and reflected together on how “the collective and the self are equally important.”
In a LUAG student spotlight post, Afiwa Afandalo, the student and artist, reflected on how she created the workshop, which was inspired by sketching and contemplating one of the art works in the exhibit Young, Gifted, and Black.
We recommend you read her revelatory quote below –
The idea of having a workshop on the theme of identity and community came to me while viewing Blue Dancer by Tunji Adeniyi Jones. Every time I go to the gallery, I stop by that piece, the colors, the shape of the figure, the movement, they all feel so organic to me! I was so in love with that piece (I still am), I did a sketch of it in my sketchbook and used it as my artist study for my self-portrait painting. Sketching this piece allowed me to engage and decipher it; it felt like a puzzle—I love puzzles and I think it makes sense that I saw it as that: a puzzle—every piece carefully and intentionally crafted to create this beautiful piece. Something that stood out to me in this process was how the movements within the figure and outside of it are in sync with the form of the figure. I was trying to figure out which of the motion was impacting the other and couldn’t quite put my finger on it. When I finished the figure and was working on the surroundings, that’s when I had my “lightbulb moment”; it is not one or the other, it is both together, working at the same time, and having an impact on each other. That made me think of myself and my environment, how both work together and are equally important to the person I am and becoming. That’s when I knew what the workshop should be about.Afiwa Afandalo. Lehigh University Art Galleries spotlight. May 26, 2022.
LUAG is an example of a university art museum that has incorporated slow looking and non-judgmental looking practices deeply into their tours, programs, and student engagement.
Seeing this brings us real joy and makes us look forward to seeing what LUAG comes up with for their 2023 Slow Art Day program.
– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, Phyl and Robin.