Slow Art Day at the Museum of Gloucester

For their first Slow Art Day, the Museum of Gloucester, UK, organized an in-person event where participants were invited to explore paintings from their exhibition “Two Millennia of Changing Faces: Gloucester’s Architecture. Fifth century to twentieth century“: a collection that encapsulates the architecture and built heritage of the city of Gloucester.

Flyer of the exhibition “Two Millenia of Changing Faces: Gloucester’s Architecture.”

For the event, visitors were encouraged to slow down and look closely at each piece for 5-10 minutes so that they could ponder how architecture has inspired and shaped stories of Gloucester’s people, culture and industry.

We don’t have more information about the design of their event, but we are glad they are on board and look forward to what they do in 2023.

Best,

– JJ, Ashley, Johanna, Robin, and Phyl

P.S. You can follow them on their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Gothenburg Museum of Art hosts Slow Art Day Meditation

For their third Slow Art Day, Sweden’s Gothenburg Museum of Art hosted a meditation session in their exhibition Barbro Östlihn. New York Imprint, featuring renowned post-war Swedish artist, Barbro Östlihn, who was friends with several US-based artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Claes Oldenburg, and Roy Lichtenstein.

Linda Noreen, program coordinator, organized the event, while the meditation was lead by Lars Hain, who has 25 years of leading meditation workshops.

IMG_1444: Barbro Östlihn (1930-1995) Suffolk Street Wall, 1972 Oil on canvas Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Donation 1994 from Anders Lönnqvist, Stockholm.

Once they arrived at the museum, participants were taken to the Barbro Östlihn exhibit, invited to sit down on chairs and cushions, and then led through a meditative slow looking experience.

We’ll note that mixing meditation and slow looking is not new to Gothenburg Museum of Art.

In fact, as part of Slow Art Day 2021, they created a meditative video guide on how to slow down with art (in Swedish), while the museum was forced to close due to the pandemic. If you are a speaker of a Scandinavian language, we recommend viewing the video below for inspiration.

We at Slow Art Day HQ love the mixing of meditation and slow looking and especially appreciate that Gothenburg Museum of Art provided soft chairs and cushions (sounds really comfortable – every museum needs to do this!).

We look forward to seeing what Gothenburg Museum of Art comes up with for their 4th Slow Art Day in 2023.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica, Phyl and Robin

P.S. You can find the Gothenburg Museum of Art on Facebook and Instagram.

Harn Museum Mixes Cookies and Tea with Slow Looking

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).

Harn Student Ambassadors welcome visitors.



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.

Akiyama Yo, Pli Selon Pli, 2002
Kehinde Wiley, Dogon Couple, 2008
Robert Fichter, Waiting for the Signal, 1981
Senufo Artist, Horizontal Mask (korubla), 20th century

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.

Best,

– Robin, Ashley, Phyl, Jessica Jane, and Johanna

P.S. The Harn Museum of Art can be found on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

Art Gallery of St. Albert Creates a Simple Guide for Slow Looking

For their third Slow Art Day, the Art Gallery of St. Albert, Canada, organized an in-person slow looking event focused on their current exhibitions, which were promoted on their Facebook & Instagram.

St. Albert’s Slow Art Day Flyer

For the event, the museum prepared a slow looking guide with prompts and questions (see below).

We at Slow Art Day HQ like the simplicity and clarity of their guide and recommend that educators and curators around the world take a look at this and consider copying their approach for future slow looking events.

And we look forward to what St. Albert’s comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

– Jessica Jane, Ashley, Johanna, Robin, Phyl

Drawing and Coloring at MAM in Montana

For their third Slow Art Day, the Missoula Art Museum (MAM) in Montana organized an in-person event encouraging participants to focus on Nancy Erickson’s (1935-2022) Hall of Memory #10: Guard Bear.

Nancy Erickson. 1999. Hall of Memory #10: Guard Bear.

Interestingly, to help guests slowly engage with this one work of art, they set up a small “maker station” in the gallery space with a 5-minute timer, worksheet, prompts, and materials for guests to create their own artworks.

Below is an explanatory video they put together for guests.

We recommend that educators and curators throughout the slow looking movement take a look at this video and think about how to integrate art making into their 2023 Slow Art Day.

MAM Slow Art Day 2022 explanatory video

We at Slow Art Day HQ, are excited to see art making brought into slow looking and would like to thank Educator & Outreach Specialist Cameron Decker and his team for organizing this event.

We look forward to what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

Jessica Jane, Ashley, Johanna, Robin, and Phyl

P.S. MAM can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

Silence and Connections in the heart of Berlin

For their second Slow Art Day, the Museum der Stille, in Berlin, Germany, organized an in-person event where participants were invited to look slowly in silence and peace.

The Museum der Stille, literally the “museum of stillness”, is a quiet and safe space in the heart of Berlin where visitors can find a moment for contemplation and deep spiritual connection. It is literally a slow – and slow – art museum.

Visitors engaging with a work of art by Nikolai Marakov. Photo credit: Steve Nietz.

For Slow Art Day, the organizers, Steve Nietz, Alexander Aleksander, asked participants to look silently at two works (one in each room) by fellow organizer and artist Nikolai Marakov (see photo above).

While they did not answer questions in the galleries, the organizers did make themselves available in the lobby in case participants had questions or comments.

Perhaps, due to the lingering effects of looking slowly in noiseless rooms with dimmed lighting, participants did not ask questions afterwords – but some did leave comments about the power and impact of this experience.

“If I had more time, I would have sat down in the room forever. It was exactly what I needed: silence.”

Slow Art Day participant

“The dense atmosphere, the absence of sound, and the minimal exhibition has put me in a state of calm.”

Slow Art Day participant

“The room of silence left me speechless.”

Slow Art Day Participant

“Soft tones, forms and figures of every kind, evoking transcendence and the urge to let go. A place of utter calmness in the middle of busy Berlin/Mitte.”

Slow Art Day Participant

The event was a success with 25-30 participants coming to silently look at the art slowly.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we are impressed with the merging of silence and slow that the team at Museum Der Stille created – especially given how afraid many are of silence (think about how many of us walk around with headphones, or how loud many museums can be).

But silence, like slow, is powerful and we encourage more museums to consider using silence as a key design element of their future Slow Art Day events.

And we look forward to seeing what this creative museum in Berlin develops for their Slow Art Day 2023.

Best,

– Jessica Jane, Johanna, Robin, Ashley, and Phyl

The Frederiksberg Museums Host Slow Looking and Slow Conversation

For their first Slow Art Day, the Frederiksberg Museums, hosted both in-person facilitated slow looking and online sessions (read more about their event in Danish).

The Frederiksberg Museums, located in Denmark near Copenhagen, are a group of four museums: Bakkehuset, Storm, Møstings and Cisternerne, all within walking distance of each other – and all participated in Slow Art Day.

Bakkehuset featured their Den Nye Hjørnestue or The New Corner Room. This exhibit re-interpreted the salon culture that unfolded at Bakkehuset two hundred years ago.

Here at Slow Art Day HQ we wish we could have participated in this interesting exhibit.

The way it worked was eight people sat down around a table that had a wooden ball that rolled on a track, eventually stopping in front of a letter. The letter corresponded to cabinets and texts around the room that then formed the framework for a slow conversation. Once the conversation finished, they rolled the ball again spurring yet another slow dialogue. Very cool way of choosing a piece of art (or artifacts).

The New Corner Room at Bakkehuset showing the table with rolling ball, cabinets, and texts.

At the nearby Storm museum, Slow Art Day participants were invited to participate in the study of Danish humor and satire through the work of Robert Storm Peterson, also known as Storm P.

Storm P. at his desk, Storm Museum

In addition to these two in-person events, five guided Slow Looking videos were featured on the Frederiksberg Museums’ YouTube channel.

You can view them (in Danish) below:

The Frederiksberg Museums host slow looking events twice a week in one of their four venues throughout the year.

They also have some really interesting things planned:

  • Podcast
    They are launching a podcast later this year that will focus on mindful Slow Looking.
  • Mental Health
    They also plan to integrate Slow Looking into their art and health programs for the mentally vulnerable.

We are glad that the Frederiksberg Museums have brought their collective expertise and creativity to the slow art movement and look forward to their podcast, mental health programs, and design of their 2023 Slow Art Day.

– Robin, Ashley, Johanna, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

P.S. Follow the Frederiksberg Museums on Instagram and Facebook.

Día del Arte Lento in Oaxaca

On April 2, Anfibia Gráfica in Oaxaca, Mexico, organized their first in-person Slow Art Day event. Together with Taller-Galería La Máquina, they selected four engravings by four artists from Oaxaca: Guillermo Olguín, George Mead Mood, Raúl Herrera, and Ros Santos.

Anfibia Gráfica’s Slow Art Day poster

The event was divided in two parts.

The first part was called “the moment of contemplation”, where participants were invited to follow three key moments:

  • Contemplate each work for one minute.
  • Observe each work for two minutes.
  • Choose the work they liked the most and look at it for another two minutes.

Below you can see the four engravings that were selected for the event:

George Mead Moore, Blue pelvis, printed on metal

Guillermo Olguín, Motel, lithography

Raúl Herrera, El retorno de los pájaros, lithography.

Ros Santos, Mareños, printed on metal

For the second part of the event, aesthetics and art expert Susanne Brass led an open dialogue among all participants.

Participant engaging with a work of art.

The event was a real success and participants loved focussing on details and discovering new things.

At Slow Art Day HQ we are happy to welcome Anfibia Gráfica to our movement, and very much look forward to seeing what they come up with for their second Slow Art Day in 2023

– Jessica Jane, Johanna, Ashley, Robin, and Phyl

P.S. Anfibia Gráfica can be found on Instagram.

Slow Looking with Tea and Cookies at Sweden’s Galleri Pictor

For their first Slow Art Day, Galleri Pictor in Munka-Ljungby, Sweden, hosted an in-person slow looking event with visiting art students from Munka folkhögskola.

André Bongibolt, Les 1000 soleils entrevus (64 x 83 cm), mezzotint on paper. Read more.
Participants looking at the artwork by André Bongibolt. Photo courtsey of Galleri Pictor.

On Slow Art Day, the group gathered in a gallery and sat in a half circle in front of a picture by André Bongibolt. They started with relaxing their bodies and minds for a moment before looking slowly at the artwork. Participants were also given a document with slow looking instructions in Swedish, viewable below.

Following this, all participants wrote their thoughts and observations and shared them back with the group. To round off the event, participants reflected on their slow looking experience over a cup of tea and cookies (or ‘biscuits’ as they sometimes say in Europe).

Reflecting on the event, Charlotte Fällman Gleissner shared the following with us:

Even as a gallerist, I seldom give myself time to really see the artwork in a deeper sense – therefore this was a new experience for me too. Further, I now understand how flexible slow-looking is and how it can be used with different kinds of groups in a range of settings. This is wonderful. Thank You!

Charlotte Fällman Gleissner

We at Slow Art Day HQ are excited that Galleri Pictor has joined the slow art movement – and, in fact, we now believe that all slow looking events should end with tea and cookies. That is certainly a best practice!

– Johanna, Phyl, Ashley, Jessica and Robin

PS: Stay in touch with other events at Galleri Pictor via their Instagram

Connect and Create with Slow Art at Lehigh University Art Galleries

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.

Sam Ginn and Cassidy Rubio guiding visitors on the Slow Art Day tour, 2022

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.”

In a LUAG student spotlight post, Afiwa Afandalo, the student and artist, reflected on how she created the workshop, which was inspired by sketching and contemplating one of the art works in the exhibit Young, Gifted, and Black.

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.

Afiwa Afandalo. Lehigh University Art Galleries spotlight. May 26, 2022.

LUAG is an example of a university art museum that has incorporated slow looking and non-judgmental looking practices deeply into their tours, programs, and student engagement.

Seeing this brings us real joy and makes us look forward to seeing what LUAG comes up with for their 2023 Slow Art Day program.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, Phyl and Robin.