The Museums at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA held their first Slow Art Day this year, led by Director of Museums Isra El-beshir and student curator Posi Oluwakuyide, and focused on “The Root of the Matter,” an exhibit featuring the contemporary art of Sharon Norwood.
A conceptual artist of Caribbean descent, Norwood aims to provoke an honest conversation about race, beauty, and differences.
As you can see, she uses the curly line to express identity and cultural relationships through various art forms, including ceramics, drawings, paintings, installations, and videos.
We are happy to welcome The Museums at W&L to our movement, and very much look forward to seeing the art they focus on for their second Slow Art Day in 2023.
– Ashley, Johanna, Jessica Jane, Robin, and Phyl
P.S. Below is the digital flyer used to promote the event (note their use of tinycc in their print marketing, which makes it easier for readers to type in long urls – something we recommend other educators consider copying for their print materials).
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.
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.
For their 8th Slow Art Day, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) – one of the largest art museums in North America – organized a virtual event on Zoom.
For the event, Art Educator Lauren Spring, guided participants in a close looking journey through expressionist and spiritual realms from post WWI Germany to Inuvialuit hamlet Tuktuyaaqtuuq in the 1950s.
They were invited to take a deep and slow look at works of art by German artist Käthe Kollwitz, British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor, and Inuit sculptor Bill Nasogaluak, exploring themes of family, interconnectedness, limits, transformation and transcendence, and considering how and why artists aspire to represent the most complex human emotions and experiences.
The Zoom event hosted many live participated as well as generated many likes and reshares across AGO’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we would like to thank Lauren Spring and her colleagues Melissa Smith, Natalie Lam, and Lexie Buchanan for organizing such an engaging virtual event. We are grateful for AGO’s long-term commitment to celebrating Slow Art Day, even during hard pandemic times.
We can’t wait to see what they come up with for their 9th Slow Art Day in 2023.
On April 10, 2021, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, hosted both in-person and virtual sessions for their 7th Slow Art Day.
For the in-person activity, visitors were first introduced to the concept of slow looking, and were then invited to practice what they learned as they walked through the museum. Participants were encouraged to share their experiences on social media and tag the museum with #PMASlowArtDay.
The virtual event consisted of four separate Zoom sessions focused on slow looking, writing, making, and mindfulness.
For the slow looking session, participants were encouraged to use a naturalist’s attention to detail when looking at still life paintings. Using tools like the Google Art & Education app allowed them to zoom in and experience works of art in a different way compared to in-person.
The Slow Making session took the form of a workshop inspired by the work of artist Judith Rothschild. For this session, participants cut and collaged materials to create their own mixed-media work of art, which resulted in the works you see below.
For this session, participants were guided in a communal writing exploration of portraits in the museum’s exhibition Painting Identity. Participants were asked to imagine and write about the subjects’ identity.
For this virtual session, the Yogi, martial artist, and body worker J Miles of Maha Vira Yoga encouraged participants to find their inner calm with a slow, guided look at a selection of works from the PMA’s collection. This section had a more internal approach compared to the other three sessions.
The events were well received, and the virtual participants responded positively to the PMA survey on Slow Art Day:
“The programs will make me more mindful when visiting the museum. I appreciated the opportunities to look more deeply at works of art that I might have otherwise skipped by.”
“A lovely creative and mindful way to start my day”
Participant’s quote after attending the Museum Mindful Session
“Taking time to smell the virtual flowers and using Google Art & Education app to zoom in on every area of a painting; seeing that each component had significance in the painting.”
Participant’s quote after having attended the Slow Looking session
“…slowing down & listening to/reading other participants comments, seeing their creations… is very rewarding and opens new vistas.”
Participant’s quote after having attended the Slow Making session
“Very creative and uplifting. I felt renewed and encouraged, and also came up with some ideas for my own teaching”
Participant’s quote after having attended the Slow Writing session
At Slow Art Day HQ, we want to thank the Philadelphia Museum of Art for hosting yet another wonderful event. The range of activities they designed inspire us and educators around the world to consider creating multiple workshops and experiences for Slow Art Day.
We look forward to whatever creative designs the Philadelphia Museum of Art comes up with in 2022.
Johanna, Jessica, Ashley, and Phyl
PS. For further information on the museum’s events you can follow their social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.