For their 7th Slow Art day, the Harn Museum of Art, located on the campus of The University of Florida in Gainsville, featured 5 artworks from their collection, including:
– Dogon Couple, by Kehinde Wiley – Northeast Gorge at Appledore, by Childe Hassam – Pli Selon Pli, by Akiyama Yo – Waiting for the Signal, by Robert Fichter – Horizontal Mask (korubla), by a Senufo artist
Host Allysa Peyton, Curator and Student Engagement Manager, and a group of University of Florida student ambassadors greeted participants with a flier that spelled out instructions, featured art works, and space to draw or take notes (see below).
The Harn instructed attendees to spend 10-12 minutes with each of the five featured artworks and encouraged them to not only draw or make notes, but also to reflect on the experience of looking slowly – and how what they see in the art may change over time.
After the slow looking session, everyone then gathered for tea, cookies, and discussion.
Educators and curators in the slow looking movement should take a look at their simple flyer (attached above) and consider copying elements of their approach for future sessions.
The Harn Museum of Art has also launched a year-round program Art & Mindfulness, which incorporates slow looking and guided meditations in 40-minute workshops.
We at Slow Art Day HQ like the incorporation of drawing and notes – and especially appreciate the cookies and tea (yum, yum) at the end – and we look forward to seeing what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.
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.”
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.
The Museums at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA held their first Slow Art Day this year, led by Director of Museums Isra El-beshir and student curator Posi Oluwakuyide, and focused on “The Root of the Matter,” an exhibit featuring the contemporary art of Sharon Norwood.
A conceptual artist of Caribbean descent, Norwood aims to provoke an honest conversation about race, beauty, and differences.
As you can see, she uses the curly line to express identity and cultural relationships through various art forms, including ceramics, drawings, paintings, installations, and videos.
We are happy to welcome The Museums at W&L to our movement, and very much look forward to seeing the art they focus on for their second Slow Art Day in 2023.
– Ashley, Johanna, Jessica Jane, Robin, and Phyl
P.S. Below is the digital flyer used to promote the event (note their use of tinycc in their print marketing, which makes it easier for readers to type in long urls – something we recommend other educators consider copying for their print materials).
On April 10th, the Justice Arts Coalition (JAC) in Silver Spring, Maryland, hosted their first Slow Art Day event. The JAC is a nationwide network connecting incarcerated artists, teaching artists, arts advocates, and allies.
They hosted a virtual slow-looking Zoom session that featured three works of art from their inaugural virtual exhibition Inside & Out, which features work by 30+ incarcerated and formerly incarcerated artists:
Jody E. Borhani d’Amico, ‘My friend’. Acrylic.
Harry T. Ellis, ‘Women Working’. Oil on canvas.
Shani Shih, ‘Needle at the Bottom of the Sea’. Pen & Ink on Bristol paper.
The event was advertised on social media ahead of time, and participants were invited to a Zoom session where they looked slowly at the works and then discussed their understanding of the art and of creativity and justice.
The session was well received by participants:
“When I look at art in general, I tend to be really analytical, but this was a great opportunity to really slow down and get into my feelings around art. I really enjoyed reflecting on this new way of understanding and connecting to art.”
Slow Art Day Participant
“I love this picture. Every time you look at it (I confess to have seen it before) you see something new. I see it as a rescue of the fawn but you could see it as a baby stolen from its mother. The sun is coming through the trees. That’s optimistic. But there are also lots of nets or fences around. Keeping people in? Or keeping people safe?
Participant’s thoughts on “About My Friend”, by Jody E. Borhani D’Amico
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love JAC’s vision of “shaping public dialogue around the intersection of the arts and justice”, and their focus on community-building through art. Their Slow Art Day event, and their aim to support the creativity of incarcerated artists, remind us that both slow art and human connection do not require any expertise; just curiosity and a willingness to see them in new ways.
We look forward to a second Slow Art Day with the Justice Art Coalition in 2022. If you are interested in remaining updated with the artists and work at JAC, you can follow them on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.
For its 7th Slow Art Day celebration, The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. turned the day into a whole week of events, featuring 10 women, half of whom are artists of color: Andrea Higgins, Graciela Iturbide, Frida Kahlo, Susan Katz, Yayoi Kusama, Amy Lamb, Delita Martin, Alison Saar, Amy Sherald, and Mickalene Thomas.
Participants in their Slow Art “Week” were invited via the museum website and social media platforms to select and spend 10 minutes with five portraits from among the works of the 10 artists. They were then asked to join a Zoom discussion to reflect on their slow looking experience. A detailed image of Frida Kahlo’s ‘Self-portrait dedicated to Leon Trotsky’ (1937) was also made accessible on the Google Arts & Culture platform and shared as a Facebook post.
The Slow Art Day events were part of the ongoing initiative NMWA at Home, which features an amazing range of art resources – from online exhibitions to Spotify playlists – which can be accessed here. A PDF with instructions for the Slow Art Day specific events is available here. You can also explore more of the NMWA collection here.
One of the featured artists for their Slow Art Week was Amy Sherald, who works to reclaim portraiture and turn it into a celebration of African American individuality. Strongly inspired by Frida Kahlo’s themes and her use of color, Sherald’s art is a critique of historical black representation in both portraiture and photography and seeks to promote black selfhood.
Amy Sherald has also spoken a lot about her work. We’ve included quotes below and encourage you to watch the short YouTube video ‘Amy Sherald: In the Studio.’
“My work is about taking blackness past the stereotypes and opening it up to the imagination.”
“These people have let go of that idea of being watched. They’re there to meet your gaze in a different way. And it’s a critique on historical black representation, whether it be in photography or painting.”
Amy Sherald, quote from Hauser & Wirth’s ‘Amy Sherald: In the Studio’ (YouTube).
The whole Slow Art Day HQ team loves Amy Sherald’s work and we are excited to see such focus on the reframing of conventional art history.
Participants also loved the NMWA’s Slow Art Week. One said it was one of the most “well-planned online (or offline) events they had experienced.” And unlike the previous years when the events were in the museum, this year people from all over the world – from California to the United Kingdom – were able to participate in their great program.
“This has been a super experience in so many ways: the quality of the seeing/interpretation; the generosity of listening/talking; and the sheer excitement of talking to a group of women I do not know in another country in another time zone, in this moment.”
We loved participating in the NMWA’s program and learning so much more about the 10 featured women artists. The Slow Art Day team looks forward to seeing more Slow Art Week (or maybe month?) events at the NMWA in 2021.
– Johanna, Phil and Ashley
P.S. We also have watched with admiration as the NMWA has recently started handing out water and snacks from their museum entrance as one way to support the international protests against racism and police violence.
For the second Slow Art Day hosted by the Katonah Museum of Art (KMA), the museum focused on its Bisa Butler: Portraits exhibit. Renowned for her use of fabric and traditional quilting techniques, Butler reimagines historical black figures and culture in her art, often taking classic photos and turning them into vibrant, multi-colored textiles.
On April 4, 2020, detailed images from one of Butler’s amazing quilts titled‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ were shared to Facebook and Instagram.
We show the full image first (above), but the museum did not include it in their initial posts. Instead, they posted four close-up images (below), captioned with short prompts to encourage deep reflection. Participants were then invited to an in-depth Zoom discussion, led by Marijane, a KMA docent, to explore the whole exhibit and slowly look at some of Butler’s amazing work.
Butler’s stunning textiles are often based on important black and white photographs – the one above of four women sitting on the steps of Atlanta College in 1900.
This particular work engages with complex ideas – ranging from change, power and freedom, to historical symbols of wealth culture – through Butler’s carefully curated patterns and colors. Of course, the title of this work borrows from the title of Nobel-Prize winning poet and writer Maya Angelou’s debut memoir in 1969.
The event was very well received across social media and Zoom. Many participants followed up the event with positive feedback such as:
Thanks for the incredible up close views!
Such a wonderful tour. Thanks so much for making my day.
This was AMAZING!! Thank you so much for hosting slow art day and for hosting it virtually!!!!
At Slow Art Day HQ, we also love Butler’s art and her powerful textiles. These are amazing to slowly look at online and we can only imagine what they are like to see hanging on the museum’s walls. The museum is currently closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but when the KMA re-opens, we recommend you go if you are near northern Westchester County, New York.
Finally, we note that over 80% of artists from collections across 18 major U.S. museums are still both male and white according to a 2019 survey by PLoS ONE; we are grateful that the KMA is helping to change that.