Mindful Art at Musée des Beaux Arts d’Orléans in Orléans, France

For their first Slow Art Day, Mindful Art hosted two days of mindfulness and slow looking at the Musée des Beaux Arts d’Orléans in Orléans, France. Organizer Marjan Abadie led the hybrid in-person and online event, which had 129 participants in total.

The Mindful Art Experience is an initiative by the Mindfulness Institute in Brussels, Belgium. Below is a website banner they used to promote the event.

Marjan Abadie leading participants through slow looking. CREDIT: Marjan Abadie
Slow Art Day participants. CREDIT: Marjan Abadie

We look forward to what Marjan Abadie comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

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

McMaster Museum of Art Produces Their 9th(!) Slow Art Day

For their 9th(!) Slow Art Day, the McMaster Museum of Art in Hamilton, Canada, hosted a virtual slow looking session organized by Information Officer Olga Kolotylo together with Education Officer Teresa Gregorio.

On April 2, participants looked slowly at artworks by Denyse Thomasos (1964-2012), Alexandra Luke, the Painters Eleven, and others.

At the start of the session, participants were first given context about the land which the McMaster is located on, which traditionally belongs to the Hadenosaunee and Anishinaabe nations. Slow Art Day was then introduced, and The McMaster presented the following advice for slow looking:

  • Get comfortable
  • Pay attention to your senses
  • Open yourself up
  • Allow yourself to enter the artwork
  • Trust your intuition
  • Share your findings
  • Look again

For the remainder of the time, participants were given silence to look slowly followed then by discussion.

The session was recorded and is available to watch below. We encourage art educators to check out the video for inspiration and ideas, including Kolotylo’s moderation and the way she did not reveal the artist or title until the end of each conversation.

Slow Art Day 2022 at the McMaster Museum of Art.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the longtime leadership of the McMaster Museum of Art in the slow looking movement and eagerly look forward to what they create in 2023.

We can’t wait to see what the McMaster Museum of Art comes up with for Slow Art Day in 2023.

– Johanna, Jessica Jane, Ashley, Phyl and Robin

P.S. You can stay updated with events at the McMaster Museum of Art via their IG page.

P.P.S. I, Johanna, feel especially nostalgic when I write about the McMaster events, since their event was one of the first reports I put together for Slow Art Day when I joined the team.

Aesthetics and Emotions at MART

For their second Slow Art Day, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Rovereto and Trento (MART), Italy, organized both an online and an in-person event.

For the online session, which took place on April 1, the eight participants received three artworks by email the day before of the event so that they could look slowly on their own and then come and present their thoughts during the session.

For the in-person event, organizers presented the three artworks at the beginning of the session, then they left the 20 participants to look slowly for 45 minutes.

Participants were given some prompts to think about while looking:

  • Which elements strike you the most?
  • Which positive or/and negative emotions do you feel looking at this artwork?
  • Do you like this artwork asethetically?
  • Does it evoke you memories? If so, which ones?

They also asked participants to do the following:

  • Rate their emotional and aesthetic responses with a scale of of 0 to 5 points.
  • Assign a title for each work of art (we recommend other educators consider adding this fun element).
  • Think of a common thread connecting the three artworks.

Once their slow looking was done, the museum then divided the participants into small discussion groups of four people each.

Photos from the in-person session can be viewed below.

Gino Severini, Cannoni in azione, 1915 oil on canvas, 50 x 61,5 cm, Mart, Collezione VAF-Stiftung

Organizers collected the participants feedback and shared with us a few snippets (translated from Italian).

Admiring, observing and talking in a group about the individual and personal sensations that the works made on us was very beautiful, instructive and formative. Feeling how each participant had his own point of view and his impression and how the various impressions intertwined with each other was very welcome and was appreciated by all.

Renzo – Slow Art Day participant

I think we all had a great desire to live this moment, in which physical closeness, looks, voice, were finally used as “normal” means of communication and expression simply belonging to our human race. After these two years of restrictions [for Covid] I think we all felt happy to get to know and re-know each other in a close way and to make a group. Looking together, exchanging opinions and impressions, sharing the different possibilities of reading and interpreting the works was an enriching experience and, let me say, at least for me, even moving.”

Maddalena – Slow Art Day participant

We’d like to add that Denise Bernabè, Membership Coordinator at MART, and Piero Consolati, MART member for several years, have been organizing Slow Art monthly meetings in addition to the annual events. And, due to the pandemic, April 2 was the first time they ran an in-person slow looking session – and they did great!

We very much look forward to what they come up with for 2023.

– Jessica Jane, Phyl, Johanna, and Ashley

Delving into the Down North Exhibition at Portland Museum of Art

For its fifth Slow Art Day, Portland Museum of Art delved into three works from Down North: The North Atlantic Triennial. This exhibition was co-organized by the Portland Museum of Art, the Reykjavík Art Museum, Iceland, and the Bildmuseet, Sweden; it is the first exhibition devoted entirely to contemporary art of the North Atlantic region.

Participants joined Christian Adame, Peggy L. Osher Director of Learning and Community Collaboration, to look in-person with intention and attention at three works of art (pictured below) for a total of 90 minutes.

Lauren Fensterstock (United States, born 1975), The Order of Things, 2016, mixed media with shells, overall: 78 x 240 x 26 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Claire Oliver Gallery, NY. © Lauren Fensterstock

Bita Razavi (Finland/Estonia, born 1983), Gameplay video filmed in The Hunter: Call of the Wild from the series The Dog Days Will Soon Be Over, 2019, sound; HD video, 16:9, 5 minutes 39 seconds (loop), musical score by Svetlana Maraš. Courtesy of the artist. © Bita Razavi

Anders Sunna (Sápmi, born 1985) Torne STYX, 2021, paint and collage on wood, 48 x 88 13/64 x 5/32 inches. Courtesy of the artist. © Anders Sunna. Photographs by Piera Niilá Stålka

More information, including a video of the exhibition, can be found here. Be sure to explore the entire page as the selected works featured online are striking and evocative. Portland Art Museum also holds slow looking events throughout the year on an intermittent basis. Information on those events, and when they will be held, can be found on their calendar.

Portland Museum of Art can be found on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and Soundcloud.

We can’t wait to see what PMA does for 2023!

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

P.S. We want to recognize the long-time leadership of Christian Adame who first hosted Slow Art Day at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento in 2013. When he later moved to the Phoenix Art Museum he brought it there, and then, more recently, when he was hired by the Portland Museum of Art he again brought Slow Art Day with him. Christian is the pied-piper of our movement.

Looking Slowly in London at The Wallace Collection

On Saturday April 2, 2022, The Wallace Collection in London hosted “Looking Slowly: Slow Art Day 2022” online. Organized by Miranda K. Gleaves and hosted by Oliver Jones and History of Art lecturer Jo Rhymer, the 136 attendees were guided through an hour of slow looking focused on a single painting, An Allegory of Fruitfulness, by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678).

An Allegory of Fruitfulness, 1620-9, Jacob Jordaens, © The Wallace Collection.

The event was very well received with participants saying things like –

“Thank you. I can not even imagine from now on, rushing through paintings. This is such a nice experience”.

Later in the month of April, they hosted “Slow Art”, a two-day online event where they helped participants develop skills in visual analysis and active looking. We’ve asked them for more details on their curriculum, or anything we can share with the global Slow Art Day community.

Further, we are happy to say that The Wallace Collection is one of a growing number of institutions that also hosts slow looking sessions throughout the year as a part of their public programming schedule.

You can find The Wallace Collection on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We can’t wait to see what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

Ashley, Phyl, Jessica Jane, Johanna, and Robin

Look, Listen, and Relax at Drinking Gourd Gallery

For Drinking Gourd Gallery‘s first Slow Art Day, founder Carol Torian hosted artist Kirsten Moore and led a 75-minute guided slow looking experience. Based in Raleigh, NC and conducted via Zoom, the event focused on Kirsten Moore’s food art paintings: “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy,” “Spring Onions,” “Taste the Rainbow,” and “Traditions.” Following a meditative centering exercise, visitors observed each piece, then engaged in a group discussion to share their impressions of the artwork. Kirsten also shared aspects of her artistic process and what inspires her to create.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy, Kirsten Moore, 2022, Mixed Media, 20″x24″
photo credit: Carol Torian
Spring Onions, Kirsten Moore, Mixed Media, 2017, 24″x18″
photo credit: Carol Torian

Kirsten Moore’s works are mosaics of recycled materials, such as magazines, and build on the history of food as art. Moore has a passion for planet sustainability and uses repurposed materials and discarded items instead of traditional mediums to create her mixed media artwork. Her process of deconstructing the material and giving it new life can be seen in her paintings, sculptures, and even digital artwork.

Taste the Rainbow, Kirsten Moore, Mixed Media, 2018, 18″x24″
photo credit: Carol Torian
Traditions, Kirsten Moore, Mixed Media, 2016, 16″x20″

Drinking Gourd Gallery promoted their event on Facebook and Instagram using the following image:

The attendees were engaged and excited about the process.

We encourage Slow Art Day educators and curators to spend some time with Moore’s terrific food art.

We also note that the gallery, which gets its name from the folk song “Follow the Drinking Gourd” honoring those who were once enslaved, plans on holding virtual slow art events on a quarterly basis.

We can’t wait to see what Drinking Gourd Gallery comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023!

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

Inside Out Accessible Art’s First Slow Art Day

In what we hope is the beginning of a global trend, Bloomington, Illinois was home this year to the first planned citywide Slow Art Day event.

Nine galleries across this town, including the non-profit art collective Inside Out Accessible Art, Inc (IOAA), participated in what they called their Route 66 Slow Art Day initiative (Eaton, Illinois is situated on the historic Route 66 highway in the U.S.).

In addition to what IOAA and each of the other galleries did, the big win here of course is the way longtime host Pamala Eaton organized the first citywide Slow Art Day (see this earlier post and this local media coverage for more information).

The IOAA’s design for Slow Art Day was simple.

Visitors were invited to slowly look at the art of six local artists and then talk with each of the artists, who were invited to spend the day with slow lookers.

The six artists who participated were the following:

  • Peggy Dunlap (mixed media)

Photo credits: Shelley Schultz
Slow Art Day 2022 at IOAA. Photo credits: Shelley Schultz

At Slow Art Day HQ we look forward to publishing the reports from the other eight galleries, and to writing a wrap-up analysis of Bloomington’s citywide event, including what other cities might learn about doing something similar.

Of course, we also hope that the IOAA will host another Slow Art Day in 2023, and that next year’s event will be part of yet another citywide experience.

– Johanna, Jessica, Ashley and Phyl

Ps. The IOAA is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit that has a physical gallery space for artists, provides art classes and events and works cooperatively with others in the community to provide art experiences. Check them out online or Facebook.

Birmingham Museum of Art hosts 9th Slow Art Day

The Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) in Alabama — one of the founding Slow Art Day host museums back in 2010 — invited visitors in 2022 to a Slow Art Day featuring contemporary pieces of art in their collection.

Participants were invited to look at two pieces of art, including “The Deserted Studio” by artist Robert Motherwell.

Robert Motherwell, “The Deserted Studio”, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, Birmingham Museum of Art collection.

After 5-10 minutes spent individually contemplating the artworks, participants took part in a relaxed discussion hosted by Julia Stork, Master Docent at the museum.

The event was attended by BMA docent alumni alongside local Slow Art Day enthusiasts, who all appreciated the event, with one participant exclaiming “Let’s do this again sooner than next year!” (The BMA used to host Slow Art Sundays, but discontinued them when the pandemic hit — we hope they can start them up again in the future.)

We can’t wait to see what the BMA comes up with in 2023.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica and Phyl

Mindful Slow Art Day in Singapore

For their first Slow Art Day, the gallery ARTualize in Singapore, Singapore, organized a Mindfulness with Paintings session, encouraging participants to combine mindfulness with slow looking.

On the 10th of April, ARTualize opened their two-hour session by introducing participants to some mindfulness techniques. Participants were then invited to look slowly and mindfully at selected paintings, including Low Hai Hong’s 海天一色 (literally: Sky and Sea). This was followed by discussion.

Low Hai Hong. 海天一色 (literally: Sky and Sea), from the collection Passion in Living – Paintings of Indonesia. Courtesy of ARTualize.

 

The gallery also hosts regular ‘Mindfulness with paintings’ sessions to get more people to discover the joy of looking at art. Sessions are held every Sunday from 2 to 4 pm.

Paintings on display in the gallery are also available for rent to give people the opportunity to experience the art in their own homes. Exhibited works are changed every two months. Click here to learn more.

At Slow Art Day HQ, our mission since 2010 has been to build a slow looking and mindfulness movement around the world. As a result, one of our goals has been to use the annual event to inspire museums and galleries to host regular slow looking sessions throughout the year.

We are happy to see that ARTualize are both participants and leaders in this movement and look forward to whatever they come up with for Slow Art Day 2022.

Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl

P.S. If you would like to follow ARTualize’s updates, you can follow them on their Facebook page.

Multi-lingual Slow Art Day at MO Museum

For their first Slow Art Day, the MO Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania, organized a free multi-lingual international event on Zoom as part of their MO Conversations program. On 10 April 2021, the museum hosted five conversation groups throughout the day to discuss ‘Interior XI,’ an artwork by Romanas Vilkauskas, in English, Russian, or Lithuanian.

Participants were invited to join a session in their preferred language and look slowly at the artwork before joining a discussion with one of the facilitators: Karen Vanhercke for English; Simona Košinskaitė and Justina Kaminskaitė for Lithuanian; and Irina Leto for Russian.

ROMANAS VILKAUSKAS, Interior XI, 1997 – 1998, oil on canvas, 105,5 x 125 cm. Copyright MOMuseum, Vilnius

The aim was to encourage participants to connect with a single artwork for an entire hour, and no prior knowledge of art was required. The facilitators were well versed in the “visual thinking strategy” (VTS) discussion technique, which they used for the sessions.

Staged picture with art on view and facilitator Karen Vanhercke, Educational Curator at MOMuseum

Participants loved the event and left positive feedback:

Looking at, instead of reading about, the art: the practice of  ‘slow art’ transformed my experience and gave me a deeper connection.

Participant’s quote

Actually, the major takeaway from today’s Zoom call, was my change of perception! In one hour the artpiece changed in front of my eyes. In the beginning it was just an artwork, but in the end it was a story.

Participant’s quote

The discussion made me appreciate it on different levels: peeling away at the layers of expression… It is truly a great piece, and great to see how timeless and flexible art can be.

Participant’s quote

At Slow Art Day HQ, we are excited that the MO Museum designed such an inclusive slow art event in three different languages. We encourage museum educators to consider multi-lingual options for future Slow Art Day events, and we look forward to whatever they come up with in 2022.

Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl

P.S. You can follow updates from the MO Museum on their Facebook and Instagram pages.