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

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

Slow Art Day at Sint Pauluskerk in Antwerp

On April 2, 2022, Sint Pauluskerk in Antwerp, Belgium held their fifth Slow Art Day – bringing together about 500 people for an in-person event in their Calvary Garden.

Calvary Garden, Saint Paul’s Antwerp, Belgium – credit Sint-Pauluskerk Antwerpen
Calvary Garden, Saint Paul’s Antwerp, Belgium – credit Sint-Pauluskerk Antwerpen

The garden, populated by prophets and saints and sheltered by the church wall and private home, contains 64 statues and architecture that dates from the 1700s.

It is a place of reflection, an oasis of peace in the center of the busy port city, and as such a perfect spot for a Slow Art Day.

For this fifth Slow Art Day, they had volunteers (“St. Paul’s friends”) in the Garden to help answer questions and guide participants. Importantly, they also made the Garden free of charge from 2pm to 5pm on Slow Art Day, helping to welcome hundreds of people into this outdoor art-filled sanctuary.

As noted, their in-person afternoon was very well attended.

Additionally, they generated great online engagement including hundreds of Facebook and Instagram likes.

Saint Paul’s Antwerp, Belgium, guide Leo Vereecken during Slow Art Day 2022, credit Sint-Pauluskerk Antwerpen
Saint Paul’s Antwerp, Belgium, guide Leo Vereecken during Slow Art Day 2022, credit Sint-Pauluskerk Antwerpen

We must admit that we are big fans of the team at Sint Pauluskerk. They are an inspiration to all of us around the world who care about building this movement based on slow looking, reflection, and love.

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

P.S. Please help us welcome a new Slow Art Day volunteer, Robin Cerio. Robin has a Master’s in art history, has worked in museums, and is going to help us with our big backlog of 2022 reports. In fact, she drafted this report. Welcome, Robin!

Slow Art Day Presentation at HTHIC Heritage & Slow TourismLAB, 27 Oct 2021

On 27 October at 14.00 CET / 8.00 AM EST, the Heritage & Slow TourismLAB will be focused on Slow Art and slow looking.

Maggie Freeman, Global Coordinator for Slow Art Day, will give a presentation focused on the history of Slow Art Day, its design philosophy, and the future of Slow Art Day. Long-time Slow Art Day host Armand Storck of Sint-Pauluskerk in Antwerp will also share insights and experiences from organizing Slow Art Day events.

The Heritage & Slow TourismLAB is a spin-off of the Heritage, Tourism and Hospitality, International Conference (HTHIC). In the LAB, an independent think tank, researchers, professionals and policymakers explore the varying meaning and practices of Slow and Slowness and ways to preserve natural and cultural heritage thanks to and despite tourism.

If you are interested, we hope you will join the LAB to learn about and discuss applications of Slow Art Day and slow looking within the context of cultural heritage and tourism. How can we apply Slow Art and slow looking to heritage sites? What are critical success factors? Is slow looking the same as mindfulness? Can it be instrumental in the preservation of natural and cultural heritage?

Register here.

A Slow Look at Landscapes with the MSV

For their first Slow Art Day, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) in Winchester, Virginia, shared slow-panning videos of two artworks to Facebook.

Click on the paintings below to watch the videos.

Vance Barry, ‘Cocktail Hour, Star Gables Motor Court’, 22.5 x 24″, 2016-2017. Oil on panel.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. Click on the painting to watch the video.

Sally Veach, ‘Autumn Ascension’, 48 x 48″, 2018. Oil on canvas in silver leaf frame.
Shown at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley as part of the 2019 Exhibition: ‘Ghosts of a Forgotten Landscape: Paintings by Sally Veach‘. Click on the painting to watch the video.

The videos were accompanied by prompts, and viewers were invited to respond in the comments.

We have included the prompts below. Why not watch the videos and try some slow looking?

Prompt to the Vance Barry video:

Think about the landscape features you see. What colors and shapes do you notice? How would this landscape sound if you were there? What, if anything, is missing from the landscape?

Prompt to the Sally Veach video:

Think about the colors you see and the shapes you notice. Take a deep breath and look again. Do you notice a different shape or color this time?What time of year do you think the artist is trying to convey? Does this painting remind you of anything you’ve seen out in the world? How does it make you feel?

In total the videos reached 800+ people. Several participants left comments on Facebook, describing Sally Veach’s paintings as “breathtaking”. One viewer also noted that ‘Autumn Ascension’ made him think of the chill of fall before an incoming storm.

Thank you to Mary Ladrick, Director of Education, and her team for hosting a great first Slow Art Day event. The 2020 pandemic meant that museums and galleries had to host virtual events this year, but the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley really rose to the challenge.

We look forward to what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2021.

– Johanna and Ashley

Rubens for Lent at Sint-Pauluskerk

For their third Slow Art Day, the Sint-Pauluskerk in Antwerp, Belgium, produced a slow-panning video of Peter Paul Rubens’ painting ‘The Flagellation of Christ’.

Narrated by Wilfried Van den Brande, with text by Rudi Mannaerts, the video features the stunning inside of the church and a commentary on Rubens’ artwork (click on the photo below to watch).

The nave, or central part, of Sint-Pauluskerk

Previously on loan to the Doge’s palace in Venice, the painting returned to Antwerp in time for the Slow Art Day event. Since Easter fell on the week following Slow Art Day this year, the painting’s theme of Christ’s suffering fit in well with the pre-Easter church calendar.

Peter Paul Rubens, The Flagellation of Christ, 17th century. Sint-Pauluskerk, Antwerp.

Many thanked the church for sharing the video, and several explicitly talked about how much they missed visiting the actual church. The Facebook video was viewed 2,535 times.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we are delighted that the thoughtful connection between the event hosted by Sint-Pauluskerk and the Easter holiday was so well received.

We hope that Sint-Pauluskerk will be able to open its doors for Slow Art Day 2021.

– Johanna and Ashley

What’s your Baggage?

For their second Slow Art Day, Railway Street Studios in Auckland, New Zealand, hosted a virtual event focused on Toni Mosley’s ‘CASE: Allegory’ series of art, which was inspired by the simple question: ‘what’s your baggage?’

As a result of thinking about that question, Mosley decided to explore suitcases as metaphorical symbols for emotional baggage, notions of mobility and journeys, and as containers of secrets, knowledge and memories. Not surprisingly, this theme ended up having significant resonance for home-bound viewers during the pandemic.

On April 4th, 2020, participants were invited to look slowly for 5-10 minutes at a selection of Mosley’s art:

Toni Mosley, ‘The Letters,’ CASE: Allegory, 2020. Screenprint, paint on found image, 170mm x 200mm.
Toni Mosley, ‘Find Patience,’ CASE: Allegory, 2020. Screenprint, paint on found image, 188mm x 262mm.
Toni Mosley, ‘My Heart, My Family,’ CASE: Allegory, 2020. Screen Monoprint, hand painted on paper, 206mm x 286mm.
Toni Mosley, ‘My Immigration,’ CASE: Allegory, 2020. Screen Monoprint, hand painted on paper, 272mm x 210mm.

Participants were given four prompts to guide their slow looking:

  • What do you notice? The obvious and the subtle.
  • Does this remind you of anything? A story — personal, historical.  A single meaning or multiple?
  • Color and mood? Do you have an initial emotional response?
  • Does this piece bring up any questions? This could be metaphorical or technical.

The challenge that Railway Street Studios had to confront in the design of its virtual event was how to encourage attendees to really slow down and look. They came up with a simple, but effective, strategy: ask people to write down and send in their answers to the four prompts above for the chance to win an original artwork by Toni Mosley.

Fiona Cable, founder of Railway Street Studios, said it worked. Participants enjoyed the process and took time to think carefully about answers to the prompts, which they then submitted via a link on the Railway Street Studios’ website.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we thoroughly enjoyed the depth of symbolism in Toni Mosley’s artworks — especially given the shut-down of travel during the pandemic — and were also impressed by Railway Street Studios’ initiative to host a prize competition as a way to incentivize virtual slow looking.

We hope to see another creative event from Railway Street Studios for Slow Art Day on April 10th in 2021.

– Johanna and Ashley

‘The Approaching Storm’ with The Norton Simon

For their fifth Slow Art Day, The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA, invited the public via Instagram to look slowly at Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña’s ‘The Approaching Storm.’

The event was inspired by the Norton Simon’s regular Mindful Looking sessions, where visitors focus on looking at one artwork for one hour.

Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña (French, 1807-1876), The Approaching Storm, 1870, oil on canvas, The Norton Simon Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon.

Viewers were guided by two prompts:

  • Step inside this scene and sit under the light.
  • How does it feel? In times of uneasiness, where do you find light⁣⁣?

We’d also like to note that the museum provided an unusually good description of the artwork – not filled with jargon but instead with accessible, compelling, and even poetic words.

⁣”In the midst of an approaching storm, a beacon of light shines down through a gunmetal sky onto a rocky landscape. A lone woman by the rocks nestled in the middle of the scene reminds us that we are part of this earth. At right, a tree is bent and blasted but does not break.”⁣⁣

Description of ‘The Approaching Storm’, The Norton Simon Museum, Slow Art Day 2020.

Mariko Tu, Manager of Youth and Family Programs at the Norton Simon Museum, said that slow-looking visitors loved the experience and the post was liked 600+ times.

The Slow Art Day HQ team also participated. We imagined ourselves in this scene; felt the soft warmth of the light, and really immersed ourselves in the calm before the storm. Although the lone woman in the painting seemed small, we came to believe that she is filled with strength and courage from the light despite the dark skies.

We look forward to whatever The Norton Simon Museum comes up with for Slow Art Day 2021.

– Johanna and Ashley

Telescopes and Celestial Maps with Musée Stewart

For their first Slow Art Day, the Musée Stewart in Montréal, Canada, invited participants to watch slow-motion videos of two pieces in the NIGHTS exhibit (below).

Cassegrain Telescope, France, 1750. 1979.51.14 © Stewart Museum
Celestial map, Andreas Cellarius, Scenographia systematis Copernicani, 1660.  1985.34.2 © Stewart Museum

After watching the videos, viewers were encouraged to close their eyes and describe or draw the artifacts from memory. They were asked, “What do you remember?” and “Why do you remember what you remember?”

At Slow Art Day HQ, we decided to participate ourselves. Watching the videos felt almost like traveling slowly through space. The experience demonstrates something most video artists know: just how powerful slow-motion videos can be.

We also found that the memory drawing exercise was a wonderful way to connect a physical activity to a memory. We recommend that other Slow Art Day hosts consider this simple but powerful memory drawing exercise.

The Slow Art Day team loved Musée Stewart’s first Slow Art Day and we are excited to see what creative initiatives they develop for 2021.

-Johanna and Ashley

Slow Art with LUAG in Bethlehem, PA

For their first Slow Art Day, Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) in Bethlehem, PA, invited the public to learn more about artworks in the Gallery’s collection, such as Romare Bearden’s Firebirds, 1979.

Romare Bearden, American (1914-1988), ‘Firebirds,’ 1979.
Lithograph on paper, 66/300. Gift of George P. Kramer. LUG 83 1021

On April 4, 2020, the event was promoted across social media, and also shared as an email invitation.

Participants were given access to a wide range of material on the Gallery’s Slow Art Day webpage, including prompts for ‘Firebirds’, short videos created by Lehigh students, and downloadable coloring pages.

The Gallery also hosted a series of “Art in Dialogue” presentations, featuring sessions such as ‘The Stories that Pictures Tell’ and ‘Visual Journaling’.

Slow Art Day “Art in Dialogue” presentations hosted by Lehigh University Art Gallery, 2020.

The event engaged 3,392 people in total through various channels. The email invitation was opened by 1110 people, and the Instagram and Facebook posts together reached 2,200+ people. 

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the range of activities organized for LUAG’s first Slow Art Day. We want to thank Stacie Bennan, Curator of Education, for creating such an innovative and involved set of activities.

We really look forward to what she and her team come up with for Slow Art Day 2021.

– Johanna and Ashley

P.S. You can check out more of the Lehigh digital art collection on their Artstor page.