Slow Art Day« Back to Events
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
Henry David Thoreau
Slow Art Day is a global event with a simple mission: help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art.
When people look slowly at an artwork, they make discoveries. The most important discovery is that they can see and experience art without an expert (or expertise). And that’s an exciting discovery. It unlocks passion and creativity and helps to create more art fans.
Read more about Slow Art Day here.
How Does It Work?
One day each year – April 9 in 2016 – people all over the world visit local museums and galleries to look at art slowly. Participants look at one or a few artworks and talk about their experience. That’s it. Simple by design, the goal is to focus on the art and the art of seeing.
This 2010 ARTNews feature article, “Slow Down You Look Too Fast,” provides an excellent overview of Slow Art Day.
Slow Art Day is growing rapidly from its alpha and beta tests in 2009:
- July 2008: Founder Phil Terry experiments with slow looking by spending hours at The Jewish Museum viewing only Hans Hoffman’s Fantasia and Jackson Pollock’s Convergence
- August 2009: First test with multiple participants – four people, including Phil, spend hours at the MoMA in New York looking at only a few works
- October 2009: 16 museums and galleries in North America and Europe participate in the beta test
- April 2010: 55 venues participate in the official launch
Then every year after 2010, Slow Art Day has continued to grow and reach more people around the world. There were 205 participating venues in 2015!
Participants Love Slow Art Day
Feedback on this simple event has been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a sample:
“I loved taking the time to just ‘be’ with the work, particularly pieces I might otherwise walk by.”
“It was a new and valuable way to SEE the art.”
“It was nice that all we had to do was to take our time looking at art. What a great way to spend a few hours. Then, to make it even better, we had the opportunity to discuss what we saw and think about it together with some thoughtful people over a meal. What is there not to like about that?”
“A much better way of doing the art museum than the usual idle ramble. Discussion afterwards was fun, interesting, informative, eye-opening. Look forward to doing it again soon.”
“The experience exceeded every expectation.”
“It gave me a new framework for looking at art on my own. But then it also provided the opportunity to discuss my perceptions with others who had done the same thing. Brilliant!”
“It was exciting to be engaged in conversations about art! Met some lovely people who share a common passion. Very pleasant and eye opening experience.”
Slow Art Day 2016 at the Asheville Art Museum