Art Appreciation Needs Only an Open Mind, Not an MFA




Thanks for the excellent article about Slow Art Day, your writer, Daniella Walsh, really captured the spirit of the day in her article (“Sedate Pace Reveals Artistic Genius,” Arts, April 22).


This was my second year hosting Slow Art Day and I look forward to next year’s event, which is held in museums worldwide each year on the second Saturday in April. The participants walked away with rave reviews. “I can’t believe two hours flew by” or “I never knew how to look at abstract art.” These reactions are typical of those reported from the 90 cities where Slow Art Day was held.


Why do people enjoy it? Here’s a big secret: looking carefully pays off!  In our hurley burly – bottom line – just the facts – world we often ignore the arts and treat them as something good for us like vitamins. But for those of us who take the time to slow down, engaging by looking, attending a performance, or reading a book will make this marvelous discovery: that art is so very much about us, about being human, about layers of perception and awareness that are right there for us.


If we just pay attention, we can have the thrill of discovery. As an old Laguna girl, I think art is like the beach: you can spend your day zipping down the highway or you can park your car, go down the stairs and take a walk along the ocean.  The difference between these two experiences is profound.


The museum is our cultural beach. We are so fortunate to have the Laguna Art Museum in our back yard and such an exciting curator in Grace Kook-Anderson. I urge readers to visit the museum and see the Extract show, as well as the upcoming Isamu Noguchi exhibit.  Also, here’s a tip the museum needs to publicize more:  if you join the museum as a friend level membership, not only do you get free admission to exhibits and many events, but you also receive reciprocal admission to many great museums all over the country. It’s well worth it.


And remember, you don’t have to be an expert to “get” art. You just need to open your eyes and mind!  See you at the museum!


Hedy Buzan Williamson, Laguna Beach


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