Slow Art Day

Saturday, April 4, 2020

In these uncertain times, it's important to slow down and focus on the present. That’s why we are excited to be participating in Slow Art Day: a global event with a simple mission to help more people discover for themselves the joy of looking at and loving art. Did you know that the average time spent looking at a piece of art in a museum or gallery is between 15 and 30 seconds? This Saturday, we are challenging you to slow down, take a deep breath, and take a few minutes to look at some art. While we cannot be together in the galleries at this time, we invite you to join us online in connecting with art more deeply. Here are some ways to participate:

Discover art around you

Locate artworks in your immediate vicinity that interest you. Physical pieces of art are not required to participate. Get creative by looking for art in books, magazines, textiles, objects, and more—you might realize that art exists everywhere! There’s plenty of art that can be found in nature (if you live in a place that permits with proper social distancing) or online. We’ve picked out some pieces from our Founding Collection below to get you started. Browse our collection or take a virtual tour of some of the world’s greatest museums through Google Arts and Culture.

In the manner of Edouard Manet
Landscape with Figures, n.d.
Oil on canvas
18 x 15 in.
Founding Collection, Gift of Charles and Emma Frye, 1952.109

Friedrich August von Kaulbach (German, 1850-1920)
Rosario Guerrero, ca. 1908
Oil on canvas
49 1/2 x 37 3/8 in.
Founding Collection, Gift of Charles and Emma Frye, 1952.082

Spend time with the art

We recommend choosing four pieces to look at over the span of an hour, but the amount of works is totally up to you. Try to avoid distractions, take a deep breath, and take some time to meditate with the piece for about 10 minutes. When you look at art slowly, you can make new discoveries in a piece that you may have never seen before.


What did you see? How do you feel? We’ve provided questions to help you to create a deeper connection with each work. Please note that not all questions are applicable to every work. We encourage you to contemplate or discuss these questions before seeking additional information about the artwork.

  • What is going on in this work?
  • Where does your eye go first? Why?
  • Take a look at the colors in this work of art. Why might the artist have used these colors? What might they be trying to communicate?
  • Do you see movement or does the work seem still? How might the colors, lines, and shapes contribute to the sense of movement or stillness?
  • If this work were a still from a film, what do you think might happen next following this frame? What do you think might have happened before this frame? Draw a picture if you like! What soundtrack/sound effect/dialogue might you add?
  • What emotions seem to be expressed in this work? What do you see that makes you say that?
  • If the artist were here with you, what questions might you want to ask?
  • Take a look at this work of art from a number of different angles around the room (close up, far away, etc.). How does physical distance change your perception of the work?
  • Turn your back to this work of art. Try to remember or draw the objects/shapes that you can recall most clearly. Why do you think you remembered what you did?
  • What might you title this work? Why? Now look at the label and read the title. How is it similar or different than the one you came up with? If the title from the artist is very different than yours, does it change the way you see the work? If so, how?

Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit