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 their first Slow Art Day on April 10, 2021, Open to Being, a community-building organization based in Arlington, Virginia, hosted a virtual slow looking event and set of interactive exercises.
Theresa Esterlund, the founder of Open to Being, led a 45-minute session focused on artist Foon Sham’s outdoor sculpture ‘Ridge’ (2018), and participants were invited to join via Zoom or Facebook Live.
After looking slowly at the sculpture for 7-10 minutes, participants were invited to share and discuss their observations using the following questions and creative prompts:
What did the experience feel like to you?
What surprised you?
What inspired you?
What sparked your curiosity?
What do you remember the most?
Write a 6 word story or Haiku
Use scraps of paper or other materials to build something
Take a photo
Design a symbol
The event was well received, and participants felt that the program was very accessible:
“I really appreciated the way your program unfolded. I did feel like I was transported to the park in a way, it was engaging in that we could almost compare notes with each other as guests on Zoom.”
With 25 years of experience in science, history, and art museum education, Esterlund is also an artist who now teaches yoga and meditation alongside her work with Open to Being. She sees a clear connection between slow looking at art and mindfulness:
“Looking at art slowly is an opportunity to practice mindfulness – being with everything that’s going on at any given moment and experiencing everything without judging or getting caught up in it. That kind of experience can lead to openings, which might be experienced long after the program. The emphasis was on the experience, with the artwork as a pathway and essential element of that experience, rather than on the art itself.”
At Slow Art Day HQ, we love it when hosts integrate slow looking, mindfulness and play. We can’t wait to see what creative design Esterlund comes up with for Slow Art Day 2022.
The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art focused on key pieces in the exhibit, The Rest of History, which explores groups (minorities, women, etc.) that have been underrepresented in history. Slow Art Day also coincided with Military Family Appreciation Day at VirginiaMOCA so a number of families came and did slow looking together.