For their 5th Slow Art Day, the Artichoke Gallery at MelonRouge Eatery in Magaliesburg, South Africa, organized an event featuring different art forms by three South African artists:
Handmade Damascus art knives by Bertie Rietveld
An oil painting by Evarné van Niekerk
A pen-drawn labyrinth artwork by Lorraine Reister
Visitors were given a “Meet the Maker” bio of each artist, and were guided around the artworks by facalitator Hanolet Uys, himself an artist.
As part of the event, visitors were also given two blank canvases, acrylic paint, oil, and black permanent markers and were invite to create their own art.
Below are images of the featured artworks.
Following the tour, participants discussed the artworks and artists around a table outside.
In their discussion of the art, participants reflected around the changed meaning of art in the context of a pandemic:
” The Pandemic made me look at art as a bare necessity and not as a ‘”luxury” as before”
“I started an art piece before the pandemic – and the outcome after a year was totally different than what I anticipated beforehand”
The Gallery, which has always been good at creating video artefacts of their event, produced a short TikTok video this year. We recommend that museum educators and other Slow Art Day designers watch it below:
We at Slow Art Day HQ are fans of the Artichoke Gallery and love the effort they put into designing their event every year.
We very much look forward to whatever they come up with in 2022.
Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl
P.S. You can follow Artichoke Gallery’s updates on Facebook
For their 9th Slow Art Day, the Patricia & Philip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, in Miami, Florida, invited participants to join them for a virtual guided meditation, a yoga session, and a close-looking art exercise.
The event was organized in memory of Helena Venero, a dedicated docent, volunteer and art lover who enthusiastically helped the Frost Art Museum host their first Slow Art Day. We never knew Helena, but we feel her spirit strongly, and are really touched that the Museum organized the event in her memory.
On April 10, Victoria R. Gonzalez, a Health Educator, opened the event by encouraging participants to turn off their cellphones and join her in a guided meditation.
This prepped participants for the virtual yoga class that followed, which was led by Krysten Medina, a Prana Yoga instructor. With artwork in the background, she encouraged participants to give love and care to their bodies during the session as a grounding practice.
After yoga, participants were invited to complete a close-looking exercise using one of the below five works from the Gallery’s permanent collection.
Participants chose one of the artworks, and spent 15 minutes looking slowly. They were then asked to ponder the following questions:
1. Describe the object.
2. What emotions, moods, ideas, or thoughts does the object convey or generate?
3. How has the maker/artist manipulated the materials and/or elements to convey or generate these emotions, moods, ideas, or thoughts?
4. What social, cultural, and historical factors might have influenced the maker/artist’s choices, and the object’s meaning?
5. What personal meaning or significance do you find in this object?
6. How would you compare this work to other artworks that you have seen? How is it similar and how is it different?
7. What other observations do you have?
Emily Afre, Education Specialist at the Gallery, thanked the Slow Art Day HQ team for “the opportunity to participate in another year of taking it slow.”
In turn, we would like to thank Emily and The Frost Art Museum for their long-term commitment to celebrating Slow Art Day, and for holding this year’s event in memory of someone who started their journey in Slow Art. We love being part of a global movement that helps people learn to look at and love art, all while slowing down in this fast-paced, multi-tasking world.
We can’t wait to see what the Patricia & Philip Frost Museum comes up with for their 10th Anniversary Slow Art Day in 2022.
Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl
P.S. If you are interested in following the Frost Art Museum’s updates, here you can find their Facebook page.
For their 7th Slow Art Day on April 10th, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, one of Canada’s largest art museums, shared a video and five artworks from their collection to their social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
A couple of days before the event, AGO uploaded a slow looking video featuring Clarence Alphonse Gagnon’s ‘Study of a Hare in Winter’ (1922), with a slow looking and mindfulness exercise guided by Melissa Smith, Assistant Curator of Community Programs.
On the actual day of the event, participants were then invited to focus on each of these five artworks for 10 minutes:
Kazuo Nakamura, Blue Reflections, 1962
Abraham Anghik Ruben, Sedna, c.1990
Vilhelm Hammershøi, Interior with Four Etchings, 1904
Julie Mehretu, Algorithms, Apparitions and Translations, 2013
Christi Belcourt, Wisdom of the Universe. 2014
They were also encouraged to leave comments under each image.
Below are images of the artworks, which we encourage you to experience slowly using the AGO’s prompts that follow.
Prompts for Kazuo Nakamura
For this Kazuo Nakamura piece don’t just look slowly, look closely. See how subtly the colours change. Pay attention to how the gradual shifts in brushstrokes give a sense of movement to the landscape. What do you notice about how the brushstrokes are applied? Each and every brushstroke is calculated and purposefully applied. Nakamura is best known for this analytical approach in his paintings, and in his later works, he was influenced by mathematics and scientific theories. He sought to discover a universal pattern in art and nature. What do you think this universal pattern would look like? Do you prefer an analytical approach or a more gestural one?
Prompts for Abraham Anghik Ruben
Abraham Anghik Ruben is a storyteller and tells his stories through the medium of sculpture. His sculptures often tell the legends, myths, and spiritual traditions of the Inuit people and the Arctic land. A recurring figure in Ruben’s works is the Inuit Sea Goddess, Sedna. Look at how her hair dramatically but gracefully arches up behind her like it is flowing with the movement of water. Notice how her eyes stand out from the rest of the sculpture, and how she clutches her hands close to her torso. What do her expression and her posture suggest? What is the message Ruben is trying to share?
Prompts for Vilhelm Hammershøi
Looking for a little calm and quiet? Come and join us in Vilhelm Hammershøi’s “Interior with Four Etchings”. A muted scene in both colour and sound, we invite you to hush the world around you as you spend some time with this piece. The female figure is the artist’s wife, Ida. Since she has her back to us, we cannot read her expression. But because she is turned away, we can enter and explore this private space freely. Take a look around. Notice how the light softly enters from the left, creating reflections on surfaces and depth in the space. Where do your eyes go? To the items on the table? To the etchings on the wall? What are the etchings of? Look closely because there are details here that could have easily escaped you before.
Prompts for Julie Mehretu
There’s no piece quite like this Julie Mehretu that demonstrates the importance of an unhurried and patient approach to art. Mehretu is inspired by landscapes, cities, and human activity within nature. Particularly interested in layered imagery, Mehretu’s printmaking technique requires her to slow down as she layers line upon line to create this surreal landscape. Take a look, what do you see? Now, look closer. Even closer. The closer you look the more details you’ll see. The larger narrative will begin to fall apart, revealing various smaller narratives beneath. Just as the piece evolves with each of Mehretu’s lines, your experience of this work will also evolve over time. So, go on. Look again.
Prompts for Christi Belcourt
Ten minutes is hardly enough time to contemplate the wisdom of the universe, both the concept and this piece by Metis artist Christi Belcourt. Take your time to really explore this piece. What type of birds do you see? What type of flowers and vegetation can you recognize? Imagine yourself in this space. Move through the branches and notice the balance and harmony. Can you hear the sounds of the animals? Can you smell the flowers around you? See how everything is connected. This great network of life. Belcourt’s piece asks us to reflect upon the well-being of all living species on this earth, as the current climate crisis affects us all. Take a deep breath, and surround yourself with the wisdom of the universe.
The event was well received, with 10,000+ likes and views on the AGO’s social media platforms.
Below are some great quotes form participants:
This is my favourite painting at the AGO! I always spend a long time in front of it and always pick up something new each visit.
Participant’s comment under Nakamura’s painting – Instagram
Love this idea!!
Participant’s comment on Instagram
We appreciate the Art Gallery of Ontario’s thoughtful design for this multi-day virtual event, and look forward to what they come up with for Slow Art Day in 2022.
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).
For their 6th Slow Art Day, the Foto Museum (FOMU), in Antwerp, Belgium, organized four virtual slow looking sessions featuring two photographs:
Lynne Cohen, Recording Studio, 1987.
Martine Franck, Quartier de Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, Royaume-Uni, 1977.
Each virtual session opened with a warm welcome from a guide, and introductions from participants.
Without giving any details of the photographs, the guide shared each one and invited participants to look slowly and freely discuss their thoughts.
At the end of the session, all participants were guided through a mindful full-body check to reconnect to their physical surroundings.
The participants enjoyed the slow looking and were eager to share their reflections, both about the pictures and the sessions.
“It’s a nice way to interact with strangers.”
“I was surprised that the time went by so quickly!”
“Nice food for thought with lots of different perspectives.”
At Slow Art Day HQ we are really impressed with FOMU’s commitment to hosting not one – but four – sessions in one day. Bookending each event with an introduction round and a mindful cooling-down activity is a great structure that we hope other museums adopt for a future Slow Art Day.
We look forward to what FOMU comes up with for their 7th Slow Art Day in 2022.
The Three Sisters Tearoom, in Campbellsville, Tennessee, hosted their first official Slow Art Day – and due to popular demand, they decided to hold slow looking sessions throughout the whole month of April.
The Stowe family, who run the tearoom, designed their Slow Art Month around selected paintings that featured tea as a centerpiece.
One of the Family. Fredrick George Cotman
Beauty and the Beast. Jessi Wilcox Smith.
During the sessions, visitors looked slowly at the selected works while sipping tea and listening to live music. This was followed by an engaging discussion where participants shared their observations.
The paintings selected, along with many others, are included in two slow-art-inspired books: Infused: Tea Time in Fine Art, and The Hide and Seek Gallery: A Child’s I Spy in Fine Art. Both books are written by Jennifer Stowe, slow art author, tearoom owner, and mother to the three sisters that the tearoom is named after.
The events were well received by participants of all ages. Julia Stowe said that she and her sisters are excited to continue hosting multi-generational slow art sessions throughout the year.
“Guests of all ages enjoyed this set-apart time to consider art, and the unique and intriguing observations from art-observers of various generations were especially delightful.”
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love that the Stowe family have adopted multi-generational slow looking sessions throughout the year.
We have been thinking about creating an annual tour to visit Slow Art Day museums and galleries all over the world. Assuming we make that happen, we hope to visit Campbell, TN and try their tea and slow art infusions.
In the meantime, we look forward to what the Three Sisters Tearoom comes up with for Slow Art Month in 2022.
Johanna, Ashley, Jessica, and Phyl
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about their approach, read the Summer 2021 newsletter below.
For their second Slow Art Day, Sørlandets Kunstmuseum in Kristiansand, Norway, hosted a live slow looking event on Facebook, featuring Else Hagen’s artwork named Veninner (in English: ‘female friends’, alt. ‘girlfriends’).
On April 10, participants could tune in to the live 30 minute event on the museum’s Facebook page. The session was facilitated by Hanne Aamodt and Karoline Skomedal, respectively head tourguide and tourguide at the museum.
Participants were given an introduction to Slow Art Day, and then invited to observe the painting for seven minutes, using automatic writing as a slow looking tool (automatic writing means writing down words that come to mind without thinking about it). Afterwards, the facilitators shared some of their own thoughts and gave participants a set of prompts to use while studying the painting for seven *more* minutes.
The prompts included:
What shapes, colors and materials do you see?
What details do you notice?
What is going on in the painting?
Does the artwork remind you of something from your own life?
If you were at the place depicted in the artwork, what sounds would you hear? What surfaces, smells and temperatures would you feel?
The event was well received, and participants left comments like this after the live session:
“This was a great experience! I recommend it 🧡 Thank you very much!”
Participant’s quote on Facebook
The session was recorded and shared to YouTube. The video is included below for you to watch.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the subject of this painting. Friends supporting each other is obviously a relevant theme during the ongoing pandemic, and we appreciate the warmth of this artwork.
If you would like to see more from Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, you can find them on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
We look forward to seeing what the Sørlandets Kunstmuseum has in store for Slow Art Day 2022.
For their sixth Slow Art Day, the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, GA, hosted an in-person slow looking and drawing session.
The session was originally planned as an outdoor sculpture viewing, but the rain had other plans and the event was hosted inside the museum. The program was created by Sage Kincaid, Associate Curator of Education, who has a strong passion for all things Slow Art.
On April 10, participants were invited to look slowly at three works of art at the museum:
After looking at the art pieces, Katie Landers, an Education Department Intern at the museum, led separate slow looking and drawing activities.
Participants were first encouraged to think about their physical relationship to the sculpture by Steinunn Thorarinsdottir. Next, they investigated color and color palettes by looking at Joan Mitchell’s painting. Finally, they made a blind contour and continuous line drawing of Nick Cave’s sculpture. To end the day, all participants made abstract color collages together. The event was well received by a dedicated group of 10, who spent several hours together for an immersive experience on Slow Art Day.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the integrated multi-sensory approach that the Georgia Museum of Art took to designing this year’s event. While looking at something closely lets us see in new ways, slow drawing takes that process even further and allows attendees to connect looking, talking and making. And that creates the possibility to be present — with art, with ourselves, and with others.
We look forwad to what the Georgia Museum of Art comes up with for their 7th Slow Art Day in 2022.
The theme of spring was highlighted in two senses: through the season itself, portrayed in the paintings, and the concept of fresh beginnings.
Combining prompts for close looking and conversation, the discussion was designed to create a personal connection with the artworks while building a community among participants. Using the prompts, participants uncovered visual clues and provided their own ideas and insights to the discussion. Those that did not feel comfortable joining the group discussion were encouraged to write down or sketch their responses.
Participants were invited to continue exploring the artworks by visiting the Frye’s online collection database or by diving into a reading list provided by the King County Library System.
The event was attended by 25 participants, ranging in age from teens to older adults. Their feedback was positive.
“The class was interesting and enriching. It challenged me to look at the art in different ways. Appreciated the opportunity for people to share their thoughts and observations. What a great mental and visual break!! Thank you!” –
Caroline Byrd also found the event rewarding. We include her reflection on the event below.
Even I, as the facilitator, found new perspectives I had never thought about before! Thank you, as always, for allowing the Frye to be part of global Slow Art Day! Especially in these uncertain times, we look forward to the opportunity to slow down, look closely, and spend some time with a work of art.
Caroline Byrd, Education Coordinator, Frye Art Museum
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the enthusiasm for slow looking that shows in every aspect of the event organized by Caroline Byrd. We want to thank Caroline and the Frye for being once again part of our global event and we are already excited about seeing what they come up with for 2022.