Slow Art Day 2019 Annual Report

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As we prepare for Slow Art Day 2020, we have finished our 2019 report with host summaries from around the world.

If you would like to review the full report, you can
download it here (PDF – 14MB).

Highlights 

  • SFMOMA hosted a ticketed lunch and slow viewing session, which sold out 
  • Chicago Art Institute trained young people to be docents for Slow Art Day engaging young people in a new way that gives them ownership over the experience 
  • Brazil’s largest foundation of contemporary art, Inhotim, hosted its first Slow Art Day 
  • Toronto hosted more Slow Art Day events than any city around the world 
  • Many venues held daylong events with food, music, dancing, and lots of slow viewing (check out this video from Ur Mara Museoa in the Basque country
  • Multi-sensory sessions took off around the world (close to 25% of reporting museums did some multi-sensory work, as you can see below) 
  • Phil Terry, Founder, delivered a keynote about Slow Art Day at a Toronto inclusive design conference  
  • Phil and the team started visiting cities (Toronto and Philadelphia to begin with) to bring together educators and curators to strengthen the community and share best practices 

We also continued to receive great press attention including from The BBCThe Art NewspaperSmithsonian Magazine, and many local and regional offline and online newspapers, radio, and television. 

Again, to read the full report including summaries from around the world, download our 2019 Annual Report here (PDF-14MB).

We look forward to celebrating our 10th anniversary with you in 2020. Thank you for all you have done to make possible the 1,500 total Slow Art Day events over the years on every continent and land mass except for Greenland (who is up for Greenland this year?). 

Best,  

Phil, Ashley, Maggie, Johanna and the whole Slow Art Day central volunteer team 

PS –

If you haven’t already, you can register for 2020 participation via this link: https://www.slowartday.com/be-a-host

MIT List Visual Arts Center Hosts Sixth Slow Art Day

MIT List Visual Arts Center hosted its sixth Slow Art Day, the third led by Emily Garner, Public Programs Manager.

The event highlighted three sculptures by artists Kathleen Ryan and Kapwani Kiwanga. Participants were given a self-guided prompt sheet that suggested ways to compare and contrast the selected works. This was followed by a public talk inviting participants to discuss the works and their experience of slow-looking.

A group of visitors look at Kathleen Ryan’s sculptures at the MIT List Visual Arts Center (Courtesy MIT List Visual Arts Center)

“We are always pleased to see the visitors give time that the works demand!”

Emily Garner, Public Programs Manager

Emily mentioned that she and her colleagues “are thrilled to participate in this global event amongst some great art institutions,” and we look forward to their participation in 2020.

– Ashley

Successful First Slow Art Day at InterAccess in Toronto

For their first Slow Art Day event, InterAccess in Toronto, Canada examined slow looking in relation to time-based media. They welcomed renowned artist Lisa Steele to the gallery to lead a two-hour tour of the exhibition of Daniel Young & Christian Giroux’s work Film Path / Camera Path with under-titles, which merges sculpture practice with film installation using high tech design and manufacturing technologies. 

First, Lisa Steele led a discussion with participants on slow looking, and invited them to read aloud the artist-contributed texts that accompanied the show, written by John Barlow, Ina Blom, Eric Cazdyn, Geoffrey Farmer, Agnieszka Gratza, Daniel Hambleton, Erín Moure, Bridget Moser, Judy Radul, Patricia Reed, Reza Negarestani, Mohammad Salemy, and Michael Snow.

Next, the visitors were encouraged to take time viewing the three different components of Young & Giroux’s work in the gallery – the film screen, the mechanical sculpture, and an LED sign displaying the texts the participants had read earlier in the session.

Image by Jennifer Toole. Courtesy of InterAccess.

We love to hear how organizations promote slow looking across diverse media, and look forward to seeing what InterAccess has in store for Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley

Immersive Mindfulness at Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s Third Slow Art Day

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) in West Bretton, UK hosted their third Slow Art Day, “Mindful Moments on Slow Art Day: To Breathe” by Kimsooja, a multi-disciplinary conceptual artist based in New York, Paris, and Seoul. 

Participants were invited for a private viewing of Kimsooja’s immersive installation in the historic chapel at YSP, which used light and mirrors to explore the meditative qualities of space. The mirrored floor and diffraction film in the windows responded to changes in natural light, generating a kaleidoscope of changing colors and reflections.

Photo by Mark Reeves

This year’s event was part of a program of mindfulness and art events developed by Art and Wellbeing Practitioner Rachel Howfield Massey and Mindfulness Instructor Sally Edward of Kindmind. Together they invited the group to take off their shoes and stand, sit, and lie on the mirrored floor for forty minutes and notice the changes around them and within their own bodies.

The group silently experienced moments of awe and joy when light flooded the space, and periods of quiet contemplation as the intensity of light changed from moment to moment. 

Photo by Mark Reeves

After the event, participants enjoyed hot drinks and pastries in the YSP Restaurant and took part in a gently facilitated discussion. They reported feeling a sense of heightened emotions and expansiveness. Here’s what one participant said:

“I feel like we have been on a journey and travelled far and back safely. How lovely the simplicity of this – simple yet so powerful. I feel very relaxed and empowered with a new tool – how to ‘to be’ with art.”

We look forward to seeing what mindful and immersive experiences the Yorkshire Sculpture Park programs for Slow Art Day in 2020.

– Ashley

Yoga & Meditative Creation for Slow Art Day at Wanås Konst in Sweden

For Slow Art Day 2019, Wanås Konst – Center for Art and Learning based in southern Sweden organized a full day focused on three main activities: yoga, slow art exploration, and meditative action painting.

The day started with the yoga session led by yoga instructor Risa Larsen, who focused on gaining new energy and a relaxed body and mind.

Then throughout the day, visitors were encouraged to choose five artworks in the sculpture park, taking the time to observe each slowly. 

Finally, in the afternoon, visitors were invited to the “Meditative Action Painting” workshop inspired by the Danish artist Jeppe Hein. Participants filled Tibetan singing bowls with colored water and used a ringer to slowly move around the edge of the bowl to create vibrations. These vibrations then created a work of art by sprinkling colored droplets onto a canvas underneath the bowl.

Meditative Action Painting Workshop
Photo credit: Elin Magnusson

Elin Magnusson, Head of Education at Wanås Konst, reported that many of the visitors stayed for the entire program.

We look forward to seeing what this site-specific, international contemporary art-focused organization has in store for their 2020 Slow Art Day.

– Ashley

Slow Art Day 2017 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Host Rachel Massey at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park writes of their Slow Art Day 2017 experience,

“YSP launched Mindful Moments on Slow Art Day, inviting 10 people to a private one hour viewing of Tony Cragg’s A Rare Category of Objects. Participants were invited to focus their attention on five specially selected sculptures and given cards with guidance and suggestions for mindful viewing – they were encouraged to close their eyes on arrival and before departing from each art work, allowing time for the experience to settle, perhaps noticing sensations in their body to help ground them in the moment.

Invitations for ways to view the work included, “Notice the edges of the piece. Take time to trace the edges with your eyes. Move very close to the piece and look slowly. Move further away – what do you see now?”

The atmosphere in the gallery was tranquil, yet there was a sense of intent focus and quiet energy. People moved reverentially around the space, but felt comfortable to lie on the floor, crawl around and under sculptures, move their bodies in response to the shapes.

This was followed with a delicious breakfast of tea coffee and pastries in the restaurant and conversation about the experience.”

Visitor feedback:

“Slow Art Day at YSP was truly the best way to start the weekend. We’re spending the day here, and we will do it differently after that.”

“If I’d gone on a normal visit I wouldn’t have even looked at that sculpture. Now I feel a real connection to it and it’s my favourite one.”

“All my ideas about the work changed as I looked at it longer.”

“A great privilege to have this private experience with a sculpture.”