For their second Slow Art Day, The Eaton Gallery in Bloomington, Illinois, organized a “drive-by” exhibit in the Gallery’s window display, inviting the local community to slow down and enjoy floral still-life paintings by local artist Herb Eaton.
Pamela Eaton, Gallery owner, aims to make art more accessible in a relaxed setting, and provide a space to support local artists.
From the 10th to the 30th of April, the Gallery created a drive-by window exhibit for viewers to pause and look slowly at a selection of artworks. They were then invited to share their thoughts and reflections in a variety of ways: write a note and drop it in the Gallery’s mail slot, send an email, or leave a post on the Gallery’s Facebook page.
The exhibit got great press coverage from local news outlets, both last year and this year. An article by week.com includes a video interview with Pamela Eaton, where she explains that Slow Art Day is an opportunity for people to simultaneously develop an appreciation for art and local artists.
“We are so busy hurrying around. When you slow down and pay attention to your space and place you start to see more value in them. That’s probably one of the values of COVID, it’s slowed us all down.”
The Eaton Gallery received a lot of great feedback from participants:
Kind of makes you think of the beauty of life and the changes through the years. The petals are beautiful but life happens and the years change us, but the beauty still remains in our memories.
I drove by today, slowly passing by in my car to admire A Single Petal of a Rose which I love more and more each time I see it.
Walked by Saturday to enjoy the paintings in your window… peaceful and full of color.
Looking forward to coming inside and seeing more of the art and the space.
Brightened up my walk downtown.
The Eaton Gallery’s creative drive-by solution to sharing art with the local community during Covid19 has helped viewers and participants slow down and feel connected. At Slow Art Day HQ, we agree with Pamala Eaton: “When you slow down and pay attention to your space and place you start to see more value in them.”
We look forward to Eaton Gallery’s Slow Art Day in 2022.
For their 8th annual (and 2nd virtual) Slow Art event, the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington DC, invited visitors to take part in a Slow Art Week, which opened on April 2 and culminated in a virtual gathering on April 10, facilitated by a museum educator.
The NMWA created a virtual collection, “(Anything But) Black and White”, for the week of activities. The Museum’s aim with this collection was to remind that life is rarely clearcut, and that we should seek to discover and embrace nuance, variety, and difference. The selected artworks were available to view online throughout the week, and were on display in the museum for those who could visit in person.
The final event of Slow Art Week, held on Saturday the 10th, featured lively conversation about the experience of slow looking. To facilitate more intimate dialogue with the group the museum used breakout rooms, which is a great tool during virtual sessions.
The NMWA provided participants a detailed PDF with instructions to review before joining the session on Saturday 10th.
We encourage museum educators and curators to review the PDF above to get a sense of the design of the whole event. We will highlight just a few things here.
We particularly liked the four guiding questions the NMWA asked participants to consider ahead of the Saturday session. Those questions were the following:
How might art help you appreciate perspectives other than your own?
What are your first impressions or assumptions based on? What do you need for your opinions to evolve or change?
Have you experienced a shift from binary to spectrum thinking about a topic in the last year? What influenced that change in thinking?
How can we seek to “find the gray” in the world around us?
Also in preparation for the Saturday session, the close looking PDF provided various entry points for participants, including prompts for kinesthetic and visual learners. The aim was to give participants the opportunity to approach the process of slow looking in way(s) most comfortable for them. Some of the provocations are listed below.
Consider the artwork’s details. Roll up a sheet of paper to create a viewfinder. Look at the artwork through it to isolate and consider the artwork’s parts.
Arrange things you find around your home to make a temporary found-object sculpture that is inspired by your favorite choice. Take a picture of your sculpture. Post it to social media and tag @womeninthearts and @slowartday.
Create a bank of words and phrases that come to mind as you look at an artwork.
Slow Art Week was well received:
“For the NMWA session I did the independent slow looking first, then attended the Zoom meeting. All of it was rewarding. I enjoyed the chance for interaction in the small groups. Hearing other people talk about their observations, questions, ideas, etc. is a reminder to me that I miss things even when looking closely and/or I interpret what I see differently than other people. Above all what was most meaningful to me was the opportunity to “commune” with other, like-minded (art-minded) people. For a short time I felt less alone. What I enjoyed about the day overall (attended Slow Art Day at both NMWA and Philadelphia Museum of Art) is that I allowed myself to have a whole day for art things, which was like medicine.”
“If you want to learn about and get to know a person, you spend time with them. The same is true with works of art. Time to look, time to pause, time to breathe. Time to process and to just be. NMWA’s works of art deserve this, and so do we. These works can become our life-long friends.”
“I participated in the independent slow looking and in the Zoom meeting. For me, both were important, I guess one needs time to look in your own times and places, and you also arrive prepared to the meeting. The meeting is also important because it is the opportunity to share and to listen to other experiences and views. For me both are learning opportunities and experiences.”
Participant’s quote in response to the moderator’s questions: What element(s) of Slow Art Day did you take part in—independent slow looking, Zoom meeting, both? Which element(s) did you find most rewarding. Why?
“I did not do the independent slow looking exercise since I only decided to participate a short while ahead of enrolling in the session. During the Zoom meeting, I found the conversation that you facilitated thoughtful and respectful, with time given in between words for collective observation. When you added information about the works, it was artfully done, with just the right amount so as to further the looking dialogue that was happening between us.”
We at Slow Art Day HQ would like to thank the NMWA for their long-lasting commitment to Slow Art Day, and love how creative and inclusive their Slow Art Week was. The pandemic has proven quite isolating for many, and we agree, as one participant mentioned, that enjoying art slowly is “like medicine” for the soul.
We look forward to seeing what the NMWA comes up with for Slow Art Day 2022 (and, again, encourage museum educators to review their detailed PDF for ideas and inspiration).
On April 10, the museum invited participants to watch the below video showcasing the sculptures.
We recommend that museum educators and Slow Art Day fans around the world watch this simple and lovely slow looking video. The video is also accessible through the Museum’s website and social media channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
For their first Slow Art Day, the online platform Red Zenith Collective launched on April 10, 2021 the project ‘What is Your Definition of Slow Art?‘ with a day-long series of four virtual activities dedicated to the meaning and potential of slow art.
These activities included:
An Instagram interview about slow art and sustainability.
A downloadable PDF with slow looking prompts, available to participants throughout the day.
A collaborative video project: ‘What is Your Definition of Slow Art?‘
An art meditation on the painting ‘Flamenco Singer‘ (Sonia Delaunay, 1916).
Red Zenith Collective was founded by two Polish artists, Marta Grabowska and Zula Rabikowska as a platform for women, female-identifying and non-binary creatives with a link to Central and Eastern Europe. The Slow Art Day event was conceptualized and realized by Marta Grabowska, who is also a slow art activist.
Participants were first invited to watch an Instagram interview on definitions of slow art, including how to cultivate sustainability of slow looking in art and curatorship. Marta Grabowska interviewed Veronika Cechova and Tereza Jindrova, curators at the Entrance Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic – the first artistic space in Prague to include ecological sustainability and the environment in its long-term program.
The final event of the day was a Zoom art meditation on the painting ‘Flamenco Singer‘ by a Russian-French artist Sonia Delaunay. The meditation was the first in a series of art meditations written by Grabowska, who wrote the script. The meditation lasted 20 minutes and was scripted based on primary and secondary sources of the artists and their work.
Participants loved the program, and left very positive feedback:
Amazing way to focus your attention and learn a bit of art history.
A very memorable experience. Allowed me to be mindful and really enjoy the vibrant artwork.
Great idea to marry meditation practices and art! I want more!
I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the name of the artist was not released until the last minute, but it was a gorgeous experience. The koshi bells were mesmerising! Both the writer and the provider are very knowledgeable and managed to create an alternative education setting that captivated us greatly!
At Slow Art Day HQ, we are impressed by and excited to learn more about Marta Grabowska’s ongoing research – perhaps even as part of the 2022 Red Zenith Collective Slow Art Day!
Sint-Pauluskerk in Antwerp, Belgium, hosted its fourth Slow Art Day event with a focus on the theme of “Resurrection”.
The event featured a comparison between the “Resurrection of Christ” by Aenout Vickenborgh, and Peter Paul Rubens’s painting with the same title, both of which are on display in the church.
On April 10, church visitors were invited to participate in a guided 45-minute session to view the paintings. The session featured slow looking, which was followed by discussion and detailed comparisons of the paintings by the guides. Due to continued pandemic restrictions, sessions were capped at 10 visitors per group, with only 15 people allowed in the church at the same time.
The church also created a short documentary for those who could not come in person. This was shared via email to their 1,500 subscribers. The documentary was also shared to the church’s Facebook page.
Below is a link to the video, but keep in mind that it is available only in Dutch.
Armand Storck, scriptor for Sint-Pauluskerk, hopes that their planned video production for Slow Art Day 2022 will include English subtitles to reach an international audience.
The in-person event was attended by 45 people in total, and the documentary video has been viewed by 2,500 people via Facebook and YouTube combined. Viewers of the video responded positively.
“Nicely presented, informative, pleasant. Thanks to the volunteers and to Armand for the introduction.”
“Incredibly beautiful, congratulations to the whole team!”
Participant responses to the “Der Verrijizenis” video on Facebook (translated from Dutch).
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love that Sint-Pauluskerk opens its doors for Slow Art Day with a theme that fits the church calendar. The alignment of slow looking exercises with the reflective period of lent works beautifully. We hope that more churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations are inspired by their approach.
We look forward to another event from Sint-pauluskerk in 2022.
The videos were accompanied by prompts, and viewers were invited to respond in the comments.
We have included the prompts below. Why not watch the videos and try some slow looking?
Prompt to the Vance Barry video:
Think about the landscape features you see. What colors and shapes do you notice? How would this landscape sound if you were there? What, if anything, is missing from the landscape?
Prompt to the Sally Veach video:
Think about the colors you see and the shapes you notice. Take a deep breath and look again. Do you notice a different shape or color this time?What time of year do you think the artist is trying to convey? Does this painting remind you of anything you’ve seen out in the world? How does it make you feel?
In total the videos reached 800+ people. Several participants left comments on Facebook, describing Sally Veach’s paintings as “breathtaking”. One viewer also noted that ‘Autumn Ascension’ made him think of the chill of fall before an incoming storm.
Thank you to Mary Ladrick, Director of Education, and her team for hosting a great first Slow Art Day event. The 2020 pandemic meant that museums and galleries had to host virtual events this year, but the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley really rose to the challenge.
We look forward to what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2021.
For their third Slow Art Day, the Sint-Pauluskerk in Antwerp, Belgium, produced a slow-panning video of Peter Paul Rubens’ painting ‘The Flagellation of Christ’.
Narrated by Wilfried Van den Brande, with text by Rudi Mannaerts, the video features the stunning inside of the church and a commentary on Rubens’ artwork (click on the photo below to watch).
Previously on loan to the Doge’s palace in Venice, the painting returned to Antwerp in time for the Slow Art Day event. Since Easter fell on the week following Slow Art Day this year, the painting’s theme of Christ’s suffering fit in well with the pre-Easter church calendar.
Many thanked the church for sharing the video, and several explicitly talked about how much they missed visiting the actual church. The Facebook video was viewed 2,535 times.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we are delighted that the thoughtful connection between the event hosted by Sint-Pauluskerk and the Easter holiday was so well received.
We hope that Sint-Pauluskerk will be able to open its doors for Slow Art Day 2021.
For their second Slow Art Day, Railway Street Studios in Auckland, New Zealand, hosted a virtual event focused on Toni Mosley’s ‘CASE: Allegory’ series of art, which was inspired by the simple question: ‘what’s your baggage?’
As a result of thinking about that question, Mosley decided to explore suitcases as metaphorical symbols for emotional baggage, notions of mobility and journeys, and as containers of secrets, knowledge and memories. Not surprisingly, this theme ended up having significant resonance for home-bound viewers during the pandemic.
On April 4th, 2020, participants were invited to look slowly for 5-10 minutes at a selection of Mosley’s art:
Participants were given four prompts to guide their slow looking:
What do you notice? The obvious and the subtle.
Does this remind you of anything? A story — personal, historical. A single meaning or multiple?
Color and mood? Do you have an initial emotional response?
Does this piece bring up any questions? This could be metaphorical or technical.
The challenge that Railway Street Studios had to confront in the design of its virtual event was how to encourage attendees to really slow down and look. They came up with a simple, but effective, strategy: ask people to write down and send in their answers to the four prompts above for the chance to win an original artwork by Toni Mosley.
Fiona Cable, founder of Railway Street Studios, said it worked. Participants enjoyed the process and took time to think carefully about answers to the prompts, which they then submitted via a link on the Railway Street Studios’ website.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we thoroughly enjoyed the depth of symbolism in Toni Mosley’s artworks — especially given the shut-down of travel during the pandemic — and were also impressed by Railway Street Studios’ initiative to host a prize competition as a way to incentivize virtual slow looking.
We hope to see another creative event from Railway Street Studios for Slow Art Day on April 10th in 2021.
For their second Slow Art Day, the Mississippi Museum of Art shared a slow-panning video of Vincent van Gogh’s “Daisies, Arles” (1888).
The video featured close-ups of the painting alongside commentary by Victoria Meek, Associate Curator for Family and Studio Programs. The painting is her favorite artwork from the Mississippi Museum of Art exhibition “Van Gogh, Monet, Degas and Their Times,” which was postponed due to the pandemic.
McKenzie Drake, Assistant Curator of Public Programs and Community Engagement, said that the video was well-received across social media, with 830+ views and likes on Instagram and Facebook.
One person posted a picture of roses as a thematic connection, and others praised our education staff for providing insightful interpretation of the work. We were pleased to have produced something that could allow our audience to take a closer look at one of the iconic works on view.
McKenzie Drake, Assistant Curator of Public Programs and Community Engagement
Following the positive feedback on the video, the Museum created a new “Mindful Art Moment” video series on their Facebook page, encouraging viewers to think differently about what they see in works of art.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we are excited to see the Museum build new programs based on the success of its Slow Art Day initiative. This is core to our mission: use the annual event to encourage museums to adopt year-round programming.
We look forward to seeing what the Mississippi Museum of Art has in store for Slow Art Day 2021.
For their fifth Slow Art Day, The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA, invited the public via Instagram to look slowly at Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña’s ‘The Approaching Storm.’
The event was inspired by the Norton Simon’s regular Mindful Looking sessions, where visitors focus on looking at one artwork for one hour.
Viewers were guided by two prompts:
Step inside this scene and sit under the light.
How does it feel? In times of uneasiness, where do you find light?
We’d also like to note that the museum provided an unusually good description of the artwork – not filled with jargon but instead with accessible, compelling, and even poetic words.
”In the midst of an approaching storm, a beacon of light shines down through a gunmetal sky onto a rocky landscape. A lone woman by the rocks nestled in the middle of the scene reminds us that we are part of this earth. At right, a tree is bent and blasted but does not break.”
Description of ‘The Approaching Storm’, The Norton Simon Museum, Slow Art Day 2020.
Mariko Tu, Manager of Youth and Family Programs at the Norton Simon Museum, said that slow-looking visitors loved the experience and the post was liked 600+ times.
The Slow Art Day HQ team also participated. We imagined ourselves in this scene; felt the soft warmth of the light, and really immersed ourselves in the calm before the storm. Although the lone woman in the painting seemed small, we came to believe that she is filled with strength and courage from the light despite the dark skies.
We look forward to whatever The Norton Simon Museum comes up with for Slow Art Day 2021.