Ashland, Oregon host Anne Ashbey—one of the founding hosts of Slow Art Day—was pleased that the Schneider Art Museum’s spring show offered the opportunity to challenge participants in a new way. She knew that many museum visitors come with a pre-conceived idea that art means landscapes and watercolors and some mid-20th century classics like Picasso. So, for 2012, she chose three works by ultra-modern, technology-inspired mixed media artist, Jenny Vogel.
Participants told Ashbey they were challenged by her selections but the experience of slowly gazing at them made a difference. It really helped them to see multiple dimensions of Vogel’s work and then have a lively discussion about what they saw and about the role of technology in society.
Several students from Rogue Community College were part of the group—including one student who had never been to a museum before. Not only did that student learn how to look at art, but the whole group was electrified by their experience of seeing the art and the museum from that first-time museumgoer’s perspective.
Each year Ashbey is surprised anew by the impact of Slow Art Day. While each event has been different, she notes that “each Slow Art Day has helped all of us involved here in Ashland develop our passion for art, gain new perspectives on what we are seeing and create a sense of community and shared experience.”
Ashbey is already looking forward to Slow Art Day 2013 and is considering adding an additional venue in Medford, fifteen miles north of Ashland.
-Report by Anne Ashbey, host of Schneider Art Museum Slow Art Day. Edited by Slow Art Day blog writer Dana-Marie Lemmer.