International Slow Art Day encourages museum visitors to slow down

Thursday, April 25, 2013 | 6:44 p.m. CDT; updated 8:59 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 25, 2013
On Saturday, museum-goers will be encouraged to slow down at the third annual Slow Art Day at the Museum of Art and Archeology. The event is being held from noon until 2 p.m.

COLUMBIA — Scores of art pieces are now accessible online. Nonprofit websites such as ARTstor, or even a simple Google Image search, show high-quality images of works from Neolithic caves to works by 20th-century masters such as Picasso.

Add in the distraction of mobile devices while at a museum, and the traditional museum experience has changed for many.

On Saturday, museum visitors will be encouraged to slow down and absorb the art around them at the third annual Slow Art Day at the Museum of Art and Archeology, 1 Pickard Hall. The event is from noon to 2 p.m., and entrance is free.

Slow Art Day is a global event that was founded in 2008 by Phil Terry.

"Instead of breezing past hundreds of art works in the standard 8 seconds, (Terry) wondered what would happen if people looked slowly at just a few," a page on the Slow Art website states

Participants look at five works of art for 10 minutes each, and then discuss their experience over lunch. Five people participated in Terry's first art experiment, held in 2009 in New York, according to the event's website.

More than 252 venues will participate this year, the website said. 

At Pickard Hall on the MU campus, an 1861 oil painting depicting a lake — or portal to the underworld, a Keith Crown watercolor painting, a contemporary piece called "Mardi Gras Scene," which uses dry pigments mixed into wax, and a Greek carving from 630 B.C. will be displayed.

“It’s a nice sampling of the museum,” Nancy Gerardi, a museum board member, said.

The pieces were chosen by a Museum Associates committee, which is composed of museum board members.

Gerardi hopes the event will help people realize that they do, in fact, have time to go to a museum because they don't have to see everything. Once they accept this premise, "you are not beating yourself up because you didn’t do everything,” she said.

Staff will be available to answer participants' questions about the art, but Gerardi said they are encouraged to make their own deductions.

“We want to let them know that what they think is important,” she said. “They can have their own opinions.”

After viewing the art, participants are encouraged to continue the discussion over refreshments or lunch. Participants who bring their flyer to the Heidelberg can receive a free soda or coffee.

Free parking is available at the Hitt Street garage.

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