The Rapidian

Slow down for Slow Art Day this Saturday, April 16, 2011

Slow Art Day is happening in Grand Rapids on Saturday, April 16, 2011
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Want to get involved in Slow Art Day?

Where: Grand Rapids Art Museum, 101 Monroe Center & Ottawa Tavern, 151 Ottawa Ave. NW

When: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Cost: $8 museum entrance fee ($7 seniors & students w/ ID) plus lunch costs


Picture stopping at a piece of art. What do you notice: The shape? The color? The size?

Eight seconds later, your attention is gone and so are you, on to the next piece where you will spend another eight seconds on its aesthetics. If this is you, you are part of the growing statistic of adults who spend much less than one minute appreciating a piece of art that could potentially move your soul -- if you let it.

Slow Art Day is celebrated on every continent (yes, including Antarctica!). This Saturday, April 16, the third annual Slow Art Day takes place in Grand Rapids as well as more than 80 other sites across the globe. The event is designed to encourage adults to take the time to appreciate art the way the experts do and let it into their lives.

Last year, the event was hosted by ArtPrize; this year, Slow Art Day is hosted by The Rapidian's own content editor, Holly Bechiri. Bechiri's experience as an artist and curator gives her a first-hand understanding of the eight-second statistic.

"As an artist and curator myself, I alway seem to walk through museums and galleries this way: I blow by rooms full of paintings, choosing instead to sit with a few pieces that really capture me or challenge me," said Bechiri. "It takes a higher respect, in my opinion, to admit that you can't give everything attention and instead choose to honor those you can with your full attention."

One of the pieces on the agenda for Saturday's event was displayed as part of ArtPrize 2010. Bechiri's hope is "to see if people come away with a different understanding of that piece now that the craze of the crowds and rush to see everything has calmed down."

The list of pieces includes (among others):

  • Chris LaPorte's "Cavalry, American Officers, 1921"
  • Mark Sheinkman's "Concourse"
  • Pablo Picasso's "Paloma and Her Doll"

Participants of all ages are invited to visit the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), 101 Monroe Center, this Saturday at 11 a.m. where they will spend 5 to 10 minutes on 5 or 10 total pieces of art. Attendees will then meet at 1 p.m. at the Ottawa Tavern (151 Ottawa Ave. NW) to discuss their experience.

Participants of Slow Art Day will need to pay the GRAM entrance fee of $8 (seniors/students with ID $7) as well as pay for their lunch at the café. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at the GRAM Web site.

The Reading Odyssey, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is the creator of the international Slow Art Day event. The organization exists "to encourage lifelong learning and curiosity." Phil Terry, chairman of the Reading Odyssey, Inc., says he "started Slow Art Day in 2009 in an effort to change the 'eight-second rule” that on average, a person spends eight seconds looking at a piece of art before moving away, uninspired and tired." Information on how you can become inspired and not tired can be found at Reading Odyssey Web site.

Disclosure: Rapidian Content Editor Holly Bechiri is the host of Slow Art Day 2011 in Grand Rapids.

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