Dennos Museum says less is more when it comes to viewing art

Mar 29, 2018

The Dennos Museum in Traverse City has almost three-thousand works of art in its collection.

At any given time, around 280 of those works are on display, including Inuit sculptures, contemporary paintings and modern photographs.

But on April 14th, the museum wants visitors to ignore most of these works and just focus on a handful of them.  

William Allen's "Burial Ground" will be a highlighted during Slow Art Day at the Dennos Museum on April 14th.
Credit Dan Wanschura

It’s part of a global initiative called Slow Art Day and it promotes the idea of slowing down and taking more time to look at art. 

Jason Dake, the curator of education at the Dennos says “we’re constantly bombarded by imagery that we spend a few seconds with.” Slow Art Day started as a movement meant to counter that fast-paced interaction and get people to truly appreciate art.

“It really is about arts appreciation. It’s more beneficial and it’s easier to appreciate art if we spend a little more time with it,” he explains.


The Dennos Museum will host a Slow Art Day tour and Jason says they won’t put a time limit on how long they spend at each work of art. Instead, it’ll be more about looking at the art and having a conversation with people.

Jason Dake is the curator of education at the Dennos Museum.
Credit Dan Wanschura

“If it lasts three minutes, but it’s a really good conversation — that’s great, I’ll be happy,” he says. “If it goes 15 or 20 minutes just looking at one artwork … I think that’s beneficial too.”

Jason understands the thought of entering an art museum and approaching various pieces of art work could be intimidating for some. But, he says Slow Art Day is the perfect opportunity to get beyond that.

“There will be a group of people that you can share that experience with and have that conversation with,” he says. “If I have someone to bounce ideas off of and have a conversation with, I always feel like it’s a better experience.”

Slow Art Day is Saturday, April 14th at the Dennos Museum. For more information, click here.