For their first Slow Art Day, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art (AKMA), in St Joseph, Missouri, invited visitors to slowly look at three works of art:
- Frederick Judd Waugh, “Ladies Having Tea,” 1890. Oil on canvas.
- Emily Dubowski, “Sunday Visit,” 1972. Acrylic on panel.
- Luis Jimenez, “Eagle and Snake II,” 2008. Lintograph.
The museum had planned for participants to look at these three works of art for 10 minutes each, then meet to discuss the experience for 45 minutes together with a docent. However, circumstances caused them to quickly change their strategy.
First, many of the volunteer docents decided to self-isolate due to the pandemic, so at the last minute Jill Carlson, Marketing & Communications Manager, and her partner decided to lead the event. Fortunately, Carlson had previously participated in a Slow Art Day at BOZAR in Brussels a few years ago. That experience had inspired her to design the event at AKMA and made it easier for her to jump in and host the day.
It also likely made it easier for her to contend with the second change: a group of prom-going teenagers and their families showed up. For this tuxedo- and ballgown-clad audience, Carlson redesigned Slow Art Day on the fly and ended up giving brief information and suggestions for slow looking in front of each artwork. And the teenagers loved it (and we know how hard it can be to engage teenagers).
We’ll also note that Carlson and her team did a good job marketing Slow Art Day. In addition to the museum’s calendar of events, they advertised on their Facebook and Instagram pages and generated coverage in two local news outlets – The Savannah Reporter and Flatland (perhaps this is how the prom goers ended up coming).
They also created a simple brochure directing participants to the three artworks (see below).
At Slow Art Day HQ we are really impressed with Carlson and her team’s commitment to Slow Art Day and to pivoting quickly at the last moment.
We look forward to what they come up with for Slow Art Day in 2022.
– Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl