When Edith Gooden-Thompson and her sorority sisters visit the Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, they will do something that at least some parents with hyperactive children may consider a foreign concept.
They're going to stop. They're going to gaze at five artworks for five minutes apiece. They're going to discuss the art over lunch.
Gooden-Thompson's reason for stopping and staring will be the national initiative known as Slow Art Day, where museums across the country convince patrons to look longer at artworks and capture the best experience out of visiting a public-art venue. Nine venues in Broward and Palm Beach and four in Miami-Dade will be participating, according to the Slow Art Day website.
"How many times have my husband and I gone to a museum and just skimmed the art? Well, I have. My husband sometimes takes 10 minutes to look at a piece," says Gooden-Thompson, of Plantation, who will be accompanied by 25 sisters from Nova Southeastern University's Alpha Kappa Alpha alumni chapter.
Gazing at a single artwork for a minimum of five minutes demands a certain patience, museum educator Adrienne Chadwick says. This is why the museum will suggest works from current exhibitions with helpful handout guides. But how will patrons be policed to slow down?
"There will be no policing," Chadwick says with a laugh. "They do their own thing. People are in the habit of being extreme multitaskers, texting and taking pictures while they look. They get the breadth but not the depth of the museum experience. It's the perfect thing to remind people to slow down."
Slow Art Day will take place 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at various South Florida museums and galleries. Free with museum admission. A full list of participating venues is at SlowArtDay.com.