Time for the 2014 Edition of the Slow Art Day

Slow Art Day Worldwide in April

[Tweet “Do you think we’re rushing through life? Take it easy – join the Slow Art Day #SlowArtDay”]

Slow Art Day 2014

Worldwide on April 12th


Are you of the opinion that we’re rushing through life way too fast? Are you also guilty to this over-eagerness? For instance, when you visit a museum or an exhibition, what’s your approach: taking it easy around a few pieces of art or you storm through ALL of it at once, just to assure yourself that you’re not missing out on any of it? Well, if you nod in recognition now, be assured, you’re not the only one. After all, we feel more often than not that missing out isn’t an option and our time – day, weekend, vacation, life – is limited. Fair enough, but there’s a different way of experiencing it. A bit more slowly.


Cobra Museum, Amstelveen – Hundertwasser exhibition, January 2014


On April 12th this year the sixth official ‘Slow Art Day’ will be organised and what more, this is a continuously expanding movement. The idea was coined by Phil Terry, who still is the Executive Director of the volunteer organisation who arranges the event every year. When the idea was born, Phil Terry – the CEO of Corporate Good, a consultancy helping corporate executives relate to their customers – wasn’t even particularly interested in art, as he himself proclaimed in an article on ArtNews:

My wife kept dragging me to museums, I didn’t know how to look at art. Like most people, I would walk by quickly.




Hans Hoffman – Fantasia (© Renate, Hans & Maria Hofmann Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

Phil Terry‘s idea started with a museum visit in 2008, after spending an hour in front of Hans Hoffman’s painting ‘Fantasia‘ at the Jewish Museum in New York. After that it all went from one step to another, first a test with a few people in 2009 and the first real event with 16 participating museums in what the organisation calls a beta test. The growth since has been solid: 55 participants in 2010, 9o the year after, some more for 2012 and then a big jump for the 2013 event when 272 venues signed up for participation.

Art can often only be really understood by giving it time and each work can mean something different for every observer. By rushing through exhibitions, art works likely won’t leave anything behind for the visitor. But when people give it some time they start discovering details, meanings that otherwise would be missed. As per the Slow Art Day organisation themselves “the most important discovery [people] make is that they can see and experience art without an expert (or expertise)“. The philosophy behind the whole concept also proclaims that art is best enjoyed individually, exactly because of the individual message it brings for everyone.


The Slow Art Day Concept

The idea of how to actually enjoy a ‘slow art day’ is simple: you as a visitor show up and enjoy five pre-selected art works for ten minutes each and thereafter you meet up with the other participants for a discussion over lunch about the experience. It sounds pretty simple really.

The trick is to know where to go. The fact is that for institutions being a host is also a very straight-forward task. All that’s needed is to sign up on the site of the Slow Art Day organisation, select the five works of art for the topic of the day and where they’re going to be placed and that’s about it. The only other pre-requirement is that the venue has a restaurant for the lunch afterwards. The actual tools and support for hosts to run their own events is provided by the volunteers of the global Slow Art Day team. Easy concept – with fun benefits.

Currently there are 209 venues signed up for the 2014 event, but there’s still time to be part of it. Thus, if you see this and you are part of an institute or you feel that your favourite museum should be a part of this, just get involved: it’s easy, quick and surely fun. Currently there’s a strong dominance of American institutes – maybe not surprising since the idea is originating from New York – so the rest of the world, this is a challenge for you.

[Tweet “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. – Henry David Thoreau #SlowArtDay”]

Finally, it might be important to add: Slow Art Day is for one day, but even after this coming April 12th it’s a good idea to keep the mentality with us, as we all know, quite often less is more.

About The Author: Pal Ujvarosi

One half of the team behind Art Weekenders, where we travel, produce and keep developing our concept. For a living I work with management accounting, for dreaming I delve into many other areas of travel, writing and entrepreneurship, which more often than not don't result in money. Yet... I gained life experiences from living in eight different countries. Combined with extensive travelling in some fifty more, it's fair to say that I'm a global citizen with an international perspective - with the corresponding curse of becoming fairly rootless. My happy base now is Amsterdam - a faith I'm totally comfortable with.