Download print-friendly PDF

Great for individuals, groups, and families of all ages to work on together at home!

The average museum visitor spends less than twenty seconds looking at any given work of art. Now in its tenth year, Slow Art Day asks museum and gallery visitors around the world to take a pause and spend more time engaging with art. While social distancing keeps us from celebrating Slow Art Day together in the ICA galleries, we invite you to try Slow Art Day from home. 

You’ll need an artwork to focus on, some paper, a writing utensil, and a time keeping device. 



Choose an artwork that you’d like to spend some time with. Choose from the walls or shelves in your home, illustrations or photographs in books, or artwork from the ICA collection.

Stuck on choosing an artwork? We recommend Caitlin Keogh’s Blank Melody, Old Wall (2018) for its vivid symbolism. Scroll down for other suggested artwork.


Text reading


Icon of two closed eyelids with lashes fanned downward



Close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath.
Open your eyes. 


Set your timer for thirty seconds. Spend this time looking closely at the artwork. Start in one corner and slowly move your eyes from side to side, up and down, and back and forth. 

Circle icon of a timer reading 30 seconds.



After thirty seconds, look away from the artwork. Write down ten details you remember.


Repeat steps 3 and 4, this time writing down ten new details.

Icon of circular motion


Icon of open eyes


Return your attention to the artwork. Write down any additional details or observations that you might have missed. 


Set your timer for three minutes. On a fresh sheet of paper, try drawing what you see. If you’d like an extra challenge, try drawing while you keep your eyes on the artwork without looking down at your paper or lifting your writing utensil. 





Consider your personal interpretations of the artwork’s meaning. What’s it all about? Write your thoughts in stream of consciousness style. 



What questions do you have about the artwork? Make a list. 

Icon of frame with question mark in it


Icon of two closed eyelids with lashes fanned downward



Close your eyes again. Imagine you are viewing the artwork in an alternative setting: a museum gallery, a vast field, or any other setting your imagination conjures up.  


Take a deep, slow breath and open your eyes.  


Icon of open eyes


Icon of frame with exclamation point in it


Conclude by reflecting on the slow looking process. How did it feel to look slowly? What did you like best about slow looking? What was challenging about this experience for you? How might slow looking translate to other areas of your life? 


Share your Slow Art Day reflections with us on social media by using the hashtag #ICAartlab.

This activity was created by Amy Briggs Kemeza, Tour Programs Manager, in conjunction with the global Slow Art Day initiative.