The Universidad Panamericana, Guadalajara campus, located in Zapopan, Mexico, held their first Slow Art Week as a part of their Lead Creative Festival. Lead Creative is a festival that invites young people to seek change through art, and was hosted by Andrea Guadalupe Covarrubias. For the festival, art is broadly defined to include the visual arts, along with instrumental and vocal music, dance, and theater.
With over 1800 participants, this hybrid event had both in-person engagement and social media posts on Facebook and Instagram with an average reach of 700 people per post.
Based on the success of their first Slow Art Day, they plan to hold slow looking sessions throughout the year and not just with visual art, but also with the choir, theater group, and dance artists.
The event was advertised as a part of the Lead Creative festival with the below flyer.
Gallery owner Hannelie Hartman welcomed participants of all ages to the third Slow Art Day at MelonRouge in Magaliesburg, South Africa.
The event was facilitated by Dr. Sonja Brink, a Learning through Play Ambassador for the Lego Foundation, who, when not involved in Slow Art Day, teaches the Setswana language to South African children and adults through song and movement.
Working with MelonRouge, she came up with a creative multi-sensory design that started with a brief talk on the link between art and information through the ages. She discussed ways to use art to cultivate focus and presence when feeling overwhelmed by technology overload (Ed: this is one of the key reasons Slow Art Day was started a decade ago – to create an antidote to technology’s growing dominance).
After Dr. Brink’s talk, participants were then blindfolded and given a fragrant piece of clay to smell and touch in order to kickstart their senses for the multi-sensory slow looking program they were about to experience.
Blindfolds were then removed and participants starting looking at a painting titled “Injasuthi Valley,” by artist Frances Wedepohl (below). As they slowly gazed, viewers were encouraged to touch and smell a variety of natural materials, including grasses and branches.
Next, Dr. Brink brought the participants to slowly experience artwork by artist trio Louisa Staude, Louel Staude, and Heinz Schnölzer, titled “An Ode to Fynbos” (below). Visitors were invited to immerse themselves in the essence of this art through exploring the textures, smells and music composed specifically for the installation.
Then, during the third viewing, participants were encouraged to taste a range of sweet, sour, and salty candies while slowly savoring artist Trevor Rose’s tryptic titled, “Life’s Journey” (below).
With the level of detail, playfulness, and creative multi-sensory focus, this Slow Art Day 2019 was a “resounding success”, with Dr. Brink noting that for both her and the participants “it was amazing!”
We look forward to whatever creative designs MelonRouge and Dr. Brink come up with for Slow Art Day 2020.
Philadelphia Museum of Art creatively integrated music and poetry with their 2019 Slow Art Day in celebration of National Poetry Month.
“Since poems slow us down to consider individual words, phrases, and the structure of language, we thought this would be a great way to encourage slow looking,” said Greg Stuart, Museum Educator and Public Programs Coordinator.
Slow Art Day participants were asked to focus on a single work of art for 45 minutes while experiencing an in-gallery music performance. They were then also encouraged to participate in poetry writing workshops and a bookmaking program.
Candy Alexandra Gonzalez, a local poet and visual artist, encouraged participants to create a collaborative book by writing and drawing about things in their lives that they wished moved at a slower pace.
One visitor said:
“This was great for me and my eight year old daughter. It helped us look at the art more closely and talk about it together. Thank you!”
We couldn’t be happier to hear of such a successful multimedia, multi-sensory Slow Art Day, and look forward to what the Philadelphia Art Museum creates for Slow Art Day 2020.
BOZAR Center of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium hosted participants ages 10 to 70 in their multi-sensory 4th annual Slow Art Day in 2019.
Attendees focused on the exhibition Bernard van Orley: Brussels and the Renaissance, where they meditated in front of the rich landscapes within Bernard van Orley’s tapestries while listening to polyphonic renaissance music. Visitors also looked at portraits of the powerful but tragic Margaret of Austria while listening to her life story.
Participants reportedly went home with peaceful smiles.
We love to hear of such creative Slow Art Days, and look forward to BOZAR’s participation in 2020.
For their first Slow Art Day, the Byron School of Art Project Space in Mullumbimby – a small Australian town well-known for its artist colony – combined several multi-sensory activities along with food and yoga.
They started Slow Art Day with an artist talk by Marlene Sarroff whose exhibition 365 Days: You Get What You Choose is a meditation on everyday practice. Marlene spoke about her long history of working and exhibiting in artist-run spaces, about finding materials whilst not seeking them, and also about being awake to possibility.
After Marlene’s talk, participants began something organizers called The Slow Art Challenge. The challenge started with five minutes of silent looking at one artwork, then followed that with a group discussion. Next, participants took a few moments to enjoy cups of tea together, and then reconvened in pairs to observe a second chosen work in silence. For the final segment, they listened to music while looking at another artwork, and then held another discussion after that multi-sensory experience.
And as if this were not enough, their Slow Art Day finished with an evening Slow Flow Yoga Class led by yoga instructor Shien Chee from Seeker + Kind yoga studio, their neighbor two doors down. Chee and Meredith Cusack, BSA Project Space Coordinator, wanted to integrate yoga, sound, smells, and sight. They came up with the idea of using the art as a way to talk about drishti (gaze point). As a result, Chee built her class around changing drishti – looking at different works, but also from different positions, and heights. Wow.
The Byron School of Art Project Space had such a good – and creative – first Slow Art Day that participants asked if they would do the exercises for other exhibitions, which they plan to do. They also look forward to participating in Slow Art Day 2020 and we look forward to having them back. They are a wonderful addition to the global slow looking movement.
AX, the Arts and Culture Centre of Sussex in New Brunswick, Canada, held a multi-sensory Slow Art Day 2019 led by artist Deanna Musgrave, who had recently researched and written her Master’s thesis on multi-sensory art experiences.
Musgrave, whose own art was being shown, began by guiding the participants through a relaxation exercise, using sound and voice commands to invite the audience to achieve a trance-like state. She then focused on three pieces of work and encouraged viewers to experience tastes (wine, chocolate, peaches), smell (wine and peppermint), and sounds (recorded instruments) paired with each piece.
According to AX, audience members, ranging in age from 8 to 70, said that the slow multi-sensory session really enhanced their experience.
In other good news, Bonny Hill, Exhibitions Committee Chair at AX said they recently applied for and were awarded a grant to curate and host an exhibition of artists who work in the “slow art” style, using outdated technology and painstaking methods to create contemporary work. That exhibition will launch in early 2020, and perhaps be the focus of their Slow Art Day 2020.
The Oceanside Museum of Art in California reports that they had a “wonderful” multi-sensory Slow Art Day 2019.
The museum developed three self-guided stations aimed at slowly engaging multiple senses – designing multi-sensory experiences is a growing trend in the slow art movement (see the webinar we hosted in January 2019).
The three self-guided stations they created were:
Partner blind-drawing station in their watercolor exhibition
Storytelling station based around Matthew Barnes: Painter of the Night exhibition
Pairing music with paintings in their surrealism exhibition (photo to the left).
They ran Slow Art Day through the weekend and had many more people participate as a result. In fact, Slow Art Day and the self-guided stations were so successful – led to so much visitor participation – that the curatorial staff has asked that stations remain up longer.
The variety of activities – and the multi-sensory element – really allowed visitors to participate in ways that worked for them and that also added a sense of fun.
Andrea Hart, Director of Education and Public Programs at the Oceanside Museum of Art
P.S. I’m particularly pleased with this report given that my mother lived in Oceanside for years and ran a clandestine Slow Art Day at this museum with a few friends when we launched a decade ago.
Slow Art Day 2019 this year was celebrated in hundreds of museums and galleries from The Rubin Museum in NYC, to the Tate Modern in London, to a small museum in the rural Basque countryside, the Ur Mara Museoa.
Elena Cajaraville sent us this lovely 60 second video, which shows the Ur Mara’s slow and long day filled with art, food, music, and dance.
I guarantee it will put you in a good mood and show you some of the magic of this global/local Slow Art Day phenomenon.