First Slow Art Day at 1 UV Gallery Studio

For their first Slow Art Day, the 1 UV Gallery Studio in Saratoga, CA, invited visitors to a slow looking and discussion session with Larissa Dahroug, artist, Reiki Master teacher, and owner of 1 UV Gallery Studio.

View of 1 UV Gallery Studio, Slow Art Day 2023. Photo: Larissa Dahroug

Larissa promoted her Slow Art Day event by reaching out to local artists, government officials, and local museum employees in advance of the day.

Flier for Slow Art Day 2023 at 1 UV Gallery Studio

She had a small audience for the day, but it was a good start.

And in June of 2023, Larissa hosted a Saratoga Chamber of Commerce event at her Gallery where she introduced the concept of slow business, the Slow Movement, and in particular Slow Art Day to the attendees.

She is also in touch with the leader of the Bloomington, Illinois Slow Art Day, Pamala Eaton, who has developed a 15+ gallery event in that city – which Larissa hopes to replicate in Saratoga.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we are excited to see another citywide movement develop, this time in Saratoga.

We look forward to whatever Larissa and the city of Saratoga come up with for Slow Art Day 2024.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane and Phyl

100th Anniversary Celebration: Slow Art Day at El Nido Art Space (VC Projects)

For their second Slow Art Day, El Nido Art Space, presented by VC Projects, in Los Angeles celebrated the 100th birthday anniversary of artist and poet Sam Francis.

Sam Francis (1923 – 1994) — American painter and printmaker. Photographed in 1968. Photo: Eric Koch. CC BY-SA 3.0 nl

Ahead of Slow Art Day, one of Francis’ poems was sent to participating artists. They were invited to create a new artwork, dance, or song in a medium of their choice, inspired by the poem. The artists included:

Shane Guffogg – California
AKAT – Japan
Bjarni Sigurbjörnsson – Iceland
Mark van Drunick – Netherlands
Victoria Chapman – California

Here is the file containing the instructions and poem. Take a look for yourself, and read through it slowly (or listen to the poem through one of the artists’ interpretations, such as one of A.K.A.T’s recordings on SoundCloud).

The artists were given the following guidelines, also included in the document above:

1. Read the text slowly out loud

2. After reading, go outside or look through a window to see the sky (either day or night.)

3. Contemplate in silence

4. Create a work in any medium in reflection of this text

The responses included dance, song, and new paintings. VC Projects wrote a report following the event, which includes these responses. We also include a selection of them below.

Mark van Drunick, a dancer from the Netherlands, interpreted a poem through dance. If you click directly on the still image below, you will be taken to the page where the video is viewable. Mark also included some of the text from the poem directly in the video, so that the viewer could follow it slowly as part of the experience.

A.K.A.T., a Japan-born artist who today resides in both L.A. and Tokyo, recorded two different versions of the poem being read out loud, with music and sound effects included. The first version is a recitation of the poem by A.K.A.T. (note: the recitation is whispered). In the second version, we hear the sound of A.K.A.T’s mother’s voice reciting the text (done in one take! This one is spoken at normal volume and has a calm and relaxing mood).

We highly recommend that you view the other contributions in the excellent report written by VC projects.

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love that artists were invited into a celebration of another artist as part of this Slow Art Day event. Why not try it yourself: How would you interpret Sam Francis’ poem?

We can’t wait to see what El Nido and VC Projects come up with for 2024 Slow Art Day.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

Art Deco Movie Theater Shows a New Kind of Slow Art Day

Arlee Theater in Mason City, Illinois, a locally-owned and operated art deco movie theater, which relies on volunteers to stay open, hosted its first Slow Art Day (and the first one we know of in a movie theater – wow!) with great success.

Exterior of the Arlee Theater in Mason City. The photo is from the Arlee website.

Ahead of the event, local residents were invited to submit an artwork to be considered for a slow looking session to be held on the big screen.

Arlee’s volunteer crew selected five artworks (out of the overall twenty that were submitted) to be shown for five minutes each before Saturday night’s movie screening. These replaced the normal pre-show advertisements, and were accompanied by brief contextual information about Slow Art Day to help orient people arriving at different times. You can view the five works below.

Following the event, a timed video of the artworks was uploaded to the Arlee website and Facebook page so people could participate at home as well.

Marcia Maxson Schwartz, who is an Arlee board member and volunteer, reported that they received a lot of positive feedback, including from visitors who rarely go to museums or galleries. In fact, by bringing art into the movie theater, Arlee is showing all of us how to bring art into the lives of *many* more people.

Further, Schwartz and her volunteer team hope to use this year’s success to create a citywide Slow Art Day in Mason next year.

“While we only had a couple of days to get things together, our team considers it a success and is looking forward to next year – we’ve even started the ball rolling with a store owner and the town’s librarian to coordinate events across this little town next year.”

Marcia Maxaon Schwartz

At Slow Art Day HQ, we love the pioneering efforts of the Arlee Theater and hope they start a movement of movie theaters around the world showing art slowly.

We also love the mix of kinds of institutions that are now participating in Slow Art Day – major national museums, regional and university museums, galleries, outdoor sculpture parks, avant garde art spaces, and local movie theaters in small towns. Hurray!

Art needs to be slowly seen *everywhere* and we thank the volunteers at Arlee for innovating a new way to reach more people.

We eagerly anticipate what Arlee and the town of Mason, which may host a citywide Slow Art Day in 2024, come up with for next year.

-Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

Korea’s First Slow Art Day at Choi Sunu House 

Ran Hee, the manager of the Choi Sunu House Memorial Museum in Seoul, Korea, hosted their (and Korea’s) first Slow Art Day on April 15 with the theme “Neurim & Nurim (느림 그리고 누림)”, which translates to “Slow and Enjoy”.

The event was jointly organized by the National Trust Cultural Heritage Foundation and Ewha Womans University Graduate School of Education participants majoring in art education, Kim Han-sol, Han Yu-jin, and Heo Bona.

Choi Sunu (1916~1984) was an eminent art historian and museum professional who served as the fourth director of the National Museum of Korea until his death. He devoted his life to define and propagate the beauty of Korean art and architecture through exhibitions and writings. The Choi Sunu House, where he lived from 1976 to 1984, is an expression of his aesthetics of simplicity and elegance, and has been open to the public since 2004.

Ran Hee and team created a three-part event:

First, curator Song Ji-young gave participants an introduction to Choi Sunu and his house.

Next, Bona Heo, Ewha Womans University graduate student, Yoo Jin-han, and Hansol Kim handed out question cards with prompts for slow looking (and talked about the slow looking movement).

Last, Professor Han Ju-yeon hosted a video viewing session and discussion with attendees (scroll down to see photos, as well as audio and video excerpts).

Visitors listening to the introduction of the Slow Art Day event.
Curator Song Ji-young introduces the event.
Participant contemplating the question cards.
Flyer for the event.

The hosts prepared a few memorable excerpts from Choi Sunu’s works alongside a video. Participants were also encouraged to write a short note on postcards about their experience.

Slow Art Day experience cards.

Below are a few links to audio and text excerpts of Choi’s works (in Korean): 

Choi Sunu, “Fruits More Beautiful than Flowers”
Choi Sunu, “The Empty Branch of Mid-Winter” 
Choi Sunu, “Light Green Radish” 

We at HQ are glad to welcome the first Korean museum to the slow art movement, and look forward to seeing what the Choi Sunu House designs for Slow Art Day 2024.

– Ashley, Johanna, Jessica Jane, and Phyl

P.S. You can also follow Choi Sunu House on Instagram.

BYU Museum of Art Hosts Virtual Slow Art Week

For their second year hosting a Slow Art Event, the Brigham Young University Museum of Art decided to host a week of virtual activities.

Led by Director of Education, Philipp Malzl along with student educators Joseph Rowley, Susannah Kearon, Sophie Houghton, Kate Daily, and Alexa Ginn, the social media-based event encouraged viewers to slow down the fast pace of internet/social meldia viewing and contemplate a work of art for 60 seconds or more.

YouTube videos were created highlighting works on display at the museum, and prizes were offered for commenting on each video. Each of the five videos is below:

Some of the comments received include:
“I definitely am the type to often rush through art museums and only stop to look at paintings that I have seen before. Once I stopped to look at this for longer I realized just how liminal the composition is, and how much darker it felt when I just spent time with it for a moment. Super cool!”

“I love this series of 60-second videos! It is meditative to watch. My daughters are watching them with me now. One daughter noticed the vertical lines of the figure and the basketball hoop, and how if you turned the painting upside down, those lines would still be in similar places. The other daughter noticed that the basketball hoop was a tin can with the bottom cut out.”

The Brigham Young University Museum of Art hosts slow looking tours on a quarterly basis, in addition to having a printed slow looking guide available year-round at the information desk.

We look forward to seeing what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

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

P.S. The museum can be found on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Cloudless Slow Looking with TarraWarra

For their third Slow Art Day, the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Melbourne, Australia, invited the public to a mindful slow looking session and group reflection featuring work by David Noonan from the exhibition David Noonan: Only when it’s cloudless . The event was led by Sarah Metzner, museum educator at TarraWarra and a visual, collaborative, and public artist who has been working with different community groups for 30 years.

On Slow Art Day, participants followed a 20-20-20 ratio of time during the hour. They were first welcomed and then invited to look at David Noonan’s artwork “Only when it’s cloudless” for 20 minutes.

David Noonan: Only when it’s cloudless’, installation view, TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2022. Courtesy of the artist, Anna Schwartz Gallery, and Modern Art, London. Photo by Christian Capurro.

The group then spent 20 minutes slowly watching David Noonan’s 20 minute film: Mnemosyne, which has a focus on evoking memories (a link to the trailer is included in the picture below) before the session was rounded up with shared reflections for the final 20 minutes.

Note: We recommend you watch the trailer. We found it beautiful, eerie, and a little ominous.

Still from David Noonan’s 20 minute film: Mnemosyne.

The event was well received, with one participant saying that the experience “enhanced my love of art and mindfulness and reminded me to slow down and be present with myself and my practice.”

We look forward to what the TarraWarra Museum of Art comes up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

– Johanna, Ashley, Jessica Jane, Robin and Phyl

P.S. You can find TarraWarra on Facebook and Instagram.

Slow Down, Live Long, and Live Well at the Sociedade Das Artes in Serra Negra, Brazil

For their third year, the Sociedade Das Artes in Serra Negra, Brazil held a hybrid Slow Art Week, hosted by artist Henrique Vieira Filho. The Sociedade Das Artes features works by contemporary artists, along with artistic services and products.

Exploring the theme of “Slow Down, Live Long, and Live Well,” the gallery allowed for four visitors at a time and each visitor chose which works of art they wanted to appreciate slowly (note: the gallery asked that visitors RSVP ahead of their visit to secure a time to attend).

Visitors in the gallery space.

Henrique Vieira Filho wrote, as part of the day, “Living at a fast pace certainly has a certain charm (“live fast, die young”), however, I think the alternative is much more interesting: slow down, live a lot, and live well! The Slow Art Movement advocates the experience of time with greater QUALITY for everything and everyone.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Online advertisement
Henrique Vieira Filho holding a copy of O Serrano with an article about Slow Art.

The event was advertised online (see above) and there was also an article written in the local press (also see above).

Visit Google Drive or Facebook to view a video that was created to allow people to explore the exhibit virtually.

We love their focus for 2022 and look forward to seeing what they come up with for next year.

Best,

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

P.S. The Sociedade Das Artes can be found on Instagram and Facebook.

Drawing and Coloring at MAM in Montana

For their third Slow Art Day, the Missoula Art Museum (MAM) in Montana organized an in-person event encouraging participants to focus on Nancy Erickson’s (1935-2022) Hall of Memory #10: Guard Bear.

Nancy Erickson. 1999. Hall of Memory #10: Guard Bear.

Interestingly, to help guests slowly engage with this one work of art, they set up a small “maker station” in the gallery space with a 5-minute timer, worksheet, prompts, and materials for guests to create their own artworks.

Below is an explanatory video they put together for guests.

We recommend that educators and curators throughout the slow looking movement take a look at this video and think about how to integrate art making into their 2023 Slow Art Day.

MAM Slow Art Day 2022 explanatory video

We at Slow Art Day HQ, are excited to see art making brought into slow looking and would like to thank Educator & Outreach Specialist Cameron Decker and his team for organizing this event.

We look forward to what they come up with for Slow Art Day 2023.

Jessica Jane, Ashley, Johanna, Robin, and Phyl

P.S. MAM can be found on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube

The Frederiksberg Museums Host Slow Looking and Slow Conversation

For their first Slow Art Day, the Frederiksberg Museums, hosted both in-person facilitated slow looking and online sessions (read more about their event in Danish).

The Frederiksberg Museums, located in Denmark near Copenhagen, are a group of four museums: Bakkehuset, Storm, Møstings and Cisternerne, all within walking distance of each other – and all participated in Slow Art Day.

Bakkehuset featured their Den Nye Hjørnestue or The New Corner Room. This exhibit re-interpreted the salon culture that unfolded at Bakkehuset two hundred years ago.

Here at Slow Art Day HQ we wish we could have participated in this interesting exhibit.

The way it worked was eight people sat down around a table that had a wooden ball that rolled on a track, eventually stopping in front of a letter. The letter corresponded to cabinets and texts around the room that then formed the framework for a slow conversation. Once the conversation finished, they rolled the ball again spurring yet another slow dialogue. Very cool way of choosing a piece of art (or artifacts).

The New Corner Room at Bakkehuset showing the table with rolling ball, cabinets, and texts.

At the nearby Storm museum, Slow Art Day participants were invited to participate in the study of Danish humor and satire through the work of Robert Storm Peterson, also known as Storm P.

Storm P. at his desk, Storm Museum

In addition to these two in-person events, five guided Slow Looking videos were featured on the Frederiksberg Museums’ YouTube channel.

You can view them (in Danish) below:

The Frederiksberg Museums host slow looking events twice a week in one of their four venues throughout the year.

They also have some really interesting things planned:

  • Podcast
    They are launching a podcast later this year that will focus on mindful Slow Looking.
  • Mental Health
    They also plan to integrate Slow Looking into their art and health programs for the mentally vulnerable.

We are glad that the Frederiksberg Museums have brought their collective expertise and creativity to the slow art movement and look forward to their podcast, mental health programs, and design of their 2023 Slow Art Day.

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

P.S. Follow the Frederiksberg Museums on Instagram and Facebook.

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.