New Delhi’s First Slow Art Day – Gallery Art.Motif

For their first Slow Art Day (and as the first registered Slow Art Day in New Delhi), Gallery Art.Motif  opened up the gallery to slow looking enthusiasts.

Slow looking participants
Slow looking participants

The event began at 11:00 am. Visitors were first welcomed by Joan Lueth, Slow Art Day Host at the gallery, and Gallery Owner and Director, Mala Anneja. We at Slow Art Day HQ want to point out that Lueth first brought Slow Art Day to China when she lived in Shanghai, and now, since moving to New Delhi, she has continued her evangelism by working with Anneja to bring it to the Indian capital.

The design of their day was simple: Lueth and Anneja invited participants to choose an artwork they felt drawn to. All participants spent time looking slowly at the art, and then after their slow looking, everyone came together over lunch to talk about the experience.

The Gallery primarily showcases contemporary abstract and non-representational art from both upcoming and established artists, leaving plenty of room for interpretations and impressions to share with others during the Slow Art Day discussion component.

We thank Leuth for continuing to bring Slow Art Day out around the world and can’t wait to see what Art.Mofif Gallery come up with for Slow Art Day 2024, and hope that other galleries in India will also be inspired to join the slow looking movement.

-Johanna, Phyl, Ashley, and Jessica Jane.

First Slow Art Day at 1 UV Gallery Studio

For their first Slow Art Day, the 1 UV Gallery Studio in Saratoga, CA, invited visitors to a slow looking and discussion session with Larissa Dahroug, artist, Reiki Master teacher, and owner of 1 UV Gallery Studio.

View of 1 UV Gallery Studio, Slow Art Day 2023. Photo: Larissa Dahroug

Larissa promoted her Slow Art Day event by reaching out to local artists, government officials, and local museum employees in advance of the day.

Flier for Slow Art Day 2023 at 1 UV Gallery Studio

She had a small audience for the day, but it was a good start.

And in June of 2023, Larissa hosted a Saratoga Chamber of Commerce event at her Gallery where she introduced the concept of slow business, the Slow Movement, and in particular Slow Art Day to the attendees.

She is also in touch with the leader of the Bloomington, Illinois Slow Art Day, Pamala Eaton, who has developed a 15+ gallery event in that city – which Larissa hopes to replicate in Saratoga.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we are excited to see another citywide movement develop, this time in Saratoga.

We look forward to whatever Larissa and the city of Saratoga come up with for Slow Art Day 2024.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane and Phyl

Japanese Fairytale Reading at Coral Gables

For their first Slow Art Day the Coral Gables Museum in Florida featured the reading of a Japanese fairy tale, and an exhibit with Japanese-style art by the artist known as The Talented Mr. Martin. The South Florida Charter Ensemble, a non-profit dedicated to improving lives through music, was a co-sponsor of this Slow Art Day, and took the lead in promoting and organizing the session (flyer below).

Flyer created for the Coral Gables Museum event, sponsored by SFCE Music

The session began with the Japanese Fairy Tale “Issun-bōshi”. The story revolves around a boy born to elderly parents, who had wanted a child for a long time. Despite Issun-bōshi only being one-inch tall, and never growing taller, he distinguishes himself through his courage and strong-will. In the story, he journeyes to far-off lands to find his place in the world, carrying a samurai sword made from a sewing needle, with a boat constructed from a rice bowl and rudder made from chopsticks. Below is a japanese drawing of Issun-bōshi, as he travels in his small boat.

Issun-bōshi going down the river in a bowl from “Buddha’s crystal and other fairy stories” (1908). Public Domain.

The day’s event then transitioned into a slow looking session focused on Japanese art.

Here are some photos they sent to us from the day, featuring samurai armor constructed by The Talented Mr. Martin. The armor connects to the theme of bravery in the context of Japanese culture, which the children also encountered in the story of Issun-bōshi.

We are glad to have the Coral Gables Museum and the South Florida Charter Ensemble join the slow looking movement. Reading a known fairytale that connects to the theme is a great idea to for a Slow Art Day event for children, and we hope that more museums might be inspired by this.

We look forward to what the Coral Gables Museum creates for Slow Art Day 2024.

– Johanna, Ashley, Phyl and Jessica Jane

300 Attend The BIG Show in Rural Canada

For their first Slow Art Day, the Glengarry Artists’ Collective, a volunteer-driven organization of artists in eastern rural Ontario, Canada, designed “The BIG Show”, an event highlighting local art and artists.

The Collective’s mission is to create programs focused on community, and they encouraged visitors to slowly look at a selection of 149 artworks by 39 artists. About 300 participants attended the event.

Slow looking participants at the Glengarry Collective Slow Art Day event, 2023.

Ahead of Slow Art Day, the Collective posted a promo on their website and printed posters for the venue. 

On April 15th, they welcomed participants at the venue and encouraged them to use the following prompts when viewing the artworks:

  1. Look
    Take time (5 to 10 minutes) and slowly let your eyes wander all over the work. Look at it from different angles and distances.
  2. Observe
    Notice the colors, shapes, textures and markings on the surface of the artwork. Where does your eye focus?
  3. Feel
    What words come to mind about this art work? How do you feel looking at this art work? Does it evoke any memories?
  4. Share
    Share your experience of the work with someone or post an image of the work online with a word of reflection and #slowartday2023.

Slow looking participants at the Glengarry Collective Slow Art Day event, 2023.

Slow looking participant contemplating an image from a distance at the Glengarry Collective Slow Art Day event, 2023.

The hosts Alison Hall and Yvonne Callaway toured the venue, looking and talking with visitors. They agreed to let the audience choose the works they wanted to look at slowly, rather than imposing a selection on them. The photos above offer a sense of the engagement generated. They told us at Slow Art Day that, “There was lots of art talk, more than at most shows. People engaged with the works and each other.”

We love that the Glengarry Collective was able to bring out so many people in rural Canada and look forward to what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2024.

– Ashley, Johanna, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

PS. Stay up to date about events by the Glengarry Collective via their Facebook page

Slow Art Therapy at MACBA in Spain

For their second Slow Art Day, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (MACBA), Spain, held an event hosted by certified art therapists from the Fundacion La Casa Ambar titled “A Conscious Visit to Art.”

Participants were first invited to look slowly at the following five artworks:

  • “Enderroc” by Ignasi Aballí
  • “Rinzen, Subito despertar” by Antoni Tàpies
  • “Eco de una carta inacabada” by Elena del Rivero
  • “Movil Home” by Mona Hatoum
  • “Dialegs de Llum” by Josep Grau-Garriga

After the slow looking exercise, art therapists Aura Pizarro, Joaquim Basart and Maribel Perpiñá led the group in a facilitated discussion using gestalt psychotherapy, which focuses on one’s present life rather than on past experiences. Through the discussion, participants shared reactions to the art and discovered common themes of friendship, play, family, pain, and happiness.

Slow Art Day is founded on the principle of being present in the moment, and we at HQ love to see how MACBA and the Fundacion La Casa Ambar combined Slow Looking with Gestalt Art Therapy. The Fundacion La Casa Ambar also mentioned that they offer therapy to everyone, irrespective of economic means — and radical inclusivity is another shared principle with Slow Art Day.

We are excited to see what the MACBA and the Fundacion La Casa Ambar come up with for Slow Art Day 2024.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

Museo Universidad de Navarra Hosts First Slow Art Day

For their first Slow Art Day, the Museo Universidad de Navarra, in the heart of Pamplona, Spain, invited participants to look slowly at three contemporary works for art:

  • “Incendi” (1991), by Antoni Tàpies
  • “Untitled” (1969), by Mark Rothko
  • “El número y las aguas I” (1978), by Pablo Palazuelo
Antoni Tàpies. 1991. Incendi. 251 x 603
“Untitled” (1969), by Mark Rothko.
“El número y las aguas I” (1978), by Pablo Palazuelo.
Slow Art Day at the Museo Universidad de Navarra

The museum offered free tickets, which sold out in a couple of days – slow looking is in demand around the world!

The team at the museum reported that participants were excited to look slowly, share their impressions, and see through each other’s eyes.

Importantly, the museum itself enjoyed hosting their first Slow Art Day and plans to participate again next year. We look forward to seeing what they come up with for 2024.

– Jessica Jane, Johanna, Ashley and Phyl

National Gallery of Canada Hosts First Slow Art Day

The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, one of the largest museums in North America, hosted its first Slow Art Day in 2023, with a simple design: participants were invited to look slowly at art in two rooms of the gallery before discussing their experiences together.

Slow Art Day poster. National Gallery of Canada
Slow Art Day participants at the National Gallery of Canada, 2023. Featured artworks: Kazuo Nakamura, Landscape, Spring, 1959. Oil on masonite, 93.6 x 121.5 cm; Kazuo Nakamura, August, Morning Reflections, 1961. Oil on canvas, 93.7 x 121.5 cm. Both paintings are located at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Respectively purchased in 1960 and 1961. Photos: NGC

On April 15, educator Andrea Gumpert and interpreter Valérie Mercier greeted English and French speaking participants in the Great Hall. After a quick grounding exercise and a collective slow looking warm up, participants were taken to two different galleries for their slow looking. They were given a few prompts to keep in mind during each session, including choosing to read or ignore the artwork labels.

Participants were first invited to select a piece in a gallery with only figurative works (Indigenous and Canadian Galleries – A110). They spent 10 minutes looking at their chosen artworks before sharing thoughts.

This was repeated for 15 minutes in a different gallery with a variety of figurative and abstract paintings
and Inuit sculptures (Indigenous and Canadian Galleries – A112). After the second session, participants compared experiences from each gallery.

In the sharing sessions, participants remarked that their impressions of the works grew more nuanced as they spent time with them. Some found themselves asking questions about painting techniques or of the artist’s life. Two participants in the French speaking group requested to spend time with Riopelle’s Pavane, and enjoyed the exchange so much that they decided to lunch together afterwards despite not knowing each other beforehand.

In addition to the public group experience, the Gallery also suggested that participants participate on their own or watch the guided slow look of Rembrandt’s Heroine via a video produced by the museum. Several people on social media commented positively about Slow Art Day, and others wrote to the Gallery asking if the exercise would be repeated. A few staff also suggested the approach be offered on an ongoing basis.

The slow looking event was first tested in staff sessions at the Gallery in March prior to the public event in April. Andrea and Valérie ran the program with staff to 1) offer a team building exercise, and 2) test their approach and work out any kinks ahead of the public program. The staff loved it and later answered a survey, including this note from Dina Groulx, Corporate Relations Officer:


I genuinely enjoyed every minute of the tour […]. What a treat it was for me to have experienced that.
As a remote employee, it felt very impactful. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up, but I
was so glad to have invested time out of my day for myself. I also thought of how lucky I was as an
employee to have had access to the quietness of the space (most of the time) and I realized that as
the pilot took place on Monday, it created a calm retreat experience. It was so nice to go through that
experience with colleagues outside of my regular work and made connections with them and with the
art in a way that I had never experienced before.

Dina Groulx, Corporate Relations Officer

Taking inspiration from the National Gallery of Canada, we strongly recommend that other museums and galleries imitate what they have done and run slow looking sessions with their staff.

Note that the National Gallery of Canada also ran an effective marketing campaign. Their Slow Art Day event was featured in an article by Chelsea Osmond in the National Gallery of Canada Magazine and advertised on local radio stations. The Gallery also promoted the event via social media posts and in their monthly newsletter.

We are so glad the National Gallery of Canada has joined the Slow Art Day movement, and we look forward to the creative design they come up with for 2024.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

P.S. Take a look at these concluding remarks from educator Andrea Gumpert:


“Participation in the Slow Art Day requires little preparation, links the Gallery to a broader global movement and aligns directly with the Strategic Plan. The approach also benefits visitors by reported reduction in stress levels, improved concentration levels and a better ability to foster empathy. As the participants in the Gallery’s Slow Art Day expressed, slow and careful looking helps to unravel complexity, build connections and see things from multiple perspectives. Finally, since slow looking is inclusive: everyone can take part and no prior knowledge is required. For those who want to practice slow looking with art, no art historical knowledge is required giving confidence in one’s own abilities to visit a museum and to understand works of art for oneself. The Gallery is ideally placed to continue the annual Slow Art Day event and might consider further opportunities to host slow looking programs for the public as well as the staff.”

Andrea Gumpert, educator at the National Gallery of Canada

Small Town Embraces Slow Art Day

For their first Slow Art Day, Ellie Harold Studio and Gallery in Frankfort, Michigan, a small town of 1,500, hosted a slow looking event from 12 – 4 pm in her home-based venue. One of the things we love about Slow Art Day is that it happens in national museums, regional museums, movie theaters, and even local home-based galleries.

On April 15, Ellie Harold displayed a variety of paintings from her private collection, one large painting of her own, and a sculpture.

Photo courtesy of Carol Lautenbach.

Photo courtesy of Carol Lautenbach.

Photo courtesy of Carol Lautenbach.

Photo courtesy of Carol Lautenbach.

The whole town embraced this first Slow Art Day in Frankfort. Not only did a large group of people come out to view the Slow Art Day, but the local paper, Benzie County Record Patriot, also ran a substantial article.

For the event itself, the gallery handed each participant a sheet with suggestions for slow looking and a blank space and pen for writing down notes:

SUGGESTIONS FOR SLOW LOOKING

  • Gaze at a spot and let it reveal itself to you.
  • How do the colors make you feel?
  • Look at details.
  • Follow a path through the painting with your eyes.
  • Find different textures in the painting.
  • What comes forward and what recedes?
  • Does the painting take you up, down, or all around?
  • Look for rhythm or pattern.
  • Where in the painting do your eyes want to rest?
  • Does the painting have a message for you?
  • What else do you notice?

Most participants took 45 minutes to 1 hour to look at the pieces. Since the event took place in Ellie’s home, there was more artwork on display than what was selected specifically for the event, and some visitors chose to look slowly at those as well. During the event, Ellie walked around and discussed the experience with participants. She also later published a blog post: “Slow Art Day: Taking Time to Gaze.”

“Everyone reported having a positive experience and said that the exercise would change how they view art in museums going forward.”

Ellie Harold, Gallery and Studio owner

As we noted, we are always happy to see Slow Art Day being embraced by towns and institutions of all sizes and scale around the world. We welcome Ellie Harold Studio and Gallery to the Slow Art Day community, and look forward to their event next year, which will expand to include several artists.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, Phyl

Europe’s Largest Museum Complex Welcomes Slow Art Day

For their first Slow Art Day, Sigmund Freud University and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in Berlin, which comprises seventeen museums in five clusters, jointly sponsored a Slow Art event hosted by Master’s students in Art Therapy Naira Bloss and Ulla Utasch.

The museum complex invited visitors to pre-register for one of two 150-minute long workshops held on April 15th:

WORKSHOP 1: The New Museum / Neues Museum. 9.30 a.m. -12.00 p.m.

WORKSHOP 2: The Old Museum / Altes Museum. 2:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Each session opened with a guided relaxation exercise, followed by slow looking at the busts of Queen Nefertiti (workshop 1) and Queen Cleopatra (workshop 2). Afterwards, the hosts facilitated in-depth discussions.

Bust of Queen Nefertiti c. 1353 and 1336 BC. | National Museums in Berlin | Egyptian Museum with Papyrus Collection | Sandra Steiß
Portrait of Cleopatra around 50-38 B.C. | National Museums in Berlin | Collection of Classical Antiquities | Johannes Laurentius


The sessions concluded with a slow drawing exercise, where the hosts asked each participant to create a design inspired by their experience in the museum, and reflecting on the impact of Slow Looking at art on their mental health.

Workshop at the New Museum.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we are so happy to welcome the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and its seventeen museums, to the slow looking movement. We also want to thank Prof. Dr. Georg Franzen, Professorship for Psychotherapy Science and Applied Art Psychology at the Sigmund Freud University for supervising his students Naira and Ulla.

We look forward to what the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin comes up with for Slow Art Day 2024.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

Art Deco Movie Theater Shows a New Kind of Slow Art Day

Arlee Theater in Mason City, Illinois, a locally-owned and operated art deco movie theater, which relies on volunteers to stay open, hosted its first Slow Art Day (and the first one we know of in a movie theater – wow!) with great success.

Exterior of the Arlee Theater in Mason City. The photo is from the Arlee website.

Ahead of the event, local residents were invited to submit an artwork to be considered for a slow looking session to be held on the big screen.

Arlee’s volunteer crew selected five artworks (out of the overall twenty that were submitted) to be shown for five minutes each before Saturday night’s movie screening. These replaced the normal pre-show advertisements, and were accompanied by brief contextual information about Slow Art Day to help orient people arriving at different times. You can view the five works below.

Following the event, a timed video of the artworks was uploaded to the Arlee website and Facebook page so people could participate at home as well.

Marcia Maxson Schwartz, who is an Arlee board member and volunteer, reported that they received a lot of positive feedback, including from visitors who rarely go to museums or galleries. In fact, by bringing art into the movie theater, Arlee is showing all of us how to bring art into the lives of *many* more people.

Further, Schwartz and her volunteer team hope to use this year’s success to create a citywide Slow Art Day in Mason next year.

“While we only had a couple of days to get things together, our team considers it a success and is looking forward to next year – we’ve even started the ball rolling with a store owner and the town’s librarian to coordinate events across this little town next year.”

Marcia Maxaon Schwartz

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the pioneering efforts of the Arlee Theater and hope they start a movement of movie theaters around the world showing art slowly.

We also love the mix of kinds of institutions that are now participating in Slow Art Day – major national museums, regional and university museums, galleries, outdoor sculpture parks, avant garde art spaces, and local movie theaters in small towns. Hurray!

Art needs to be slowly seen *everywhere* and we thank the volunteers at Arlee for innovating a new way to reach more people.

We eagerly anticipate what Arlee and the town of Mason, which may host a citywide Slow Art Day in 2024, come up with for next year.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl