By Alison Bessesdotter
The Banana Factory at ArtsQuest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, began hosting Slow Art Day four years ago. We have 25 resident artists on three floors and we share the common spaces to hang work outside our studios. On the first floor there are two main galleries and a Banana Factory featured artist hall gallery.
On our first year of hosting, I ran a lottery to choose five works from our resident artists. Our artists also open their studios for Slow Art Day. Each year I draw a map and provide a list of the designated works located throughout the building. We repeat the process similarly each year; two years ago I added the PPP—Post-its, Pedestals, Pencils by each designated Slow Art piece.
I had the staff set up the PPPs, next to Slow Art works so that our visitors could write their observations on the post-its and paste them on the wall next to the exhibited work. It allows interaction with the art—and they express their observations—creating an interface between viewer and work. A second interface occurs when the artists see the visitors’ messages. It was popular, and visitors stood in short lines to fill out the PPPs and enjoyed talking to each other while waiting.
The response was so positive that we left the PPPs in the main hall by the April Featured Artworks. People continued to read about Slow Art and write their messages on the Post-its. There is great reward in having tangible proof of how the art impacts the adults and children who visit our center. The PPPs open the opportunity for the community not only for Slow Art Day but the entire month.