By Edie Millar, Portland Art Museum docent
Hello, I’m Edie. I’ve been a docent at Portland Art Museum for six years. Earlier this month my fellow docent, Sally, and I led our first virtual tour. To be honest we were both nervous. We were worried about using technology and were afraid no one would show up. You cannot imagine how happy we were to see 31 people ready to take part in this pilot tour.
This tour was a virtual version of the meditation tours which docents led on Thursday evenings before the pandemic. We started with a brief overview of how to use the technology so that everyone in attendance felt comfortable. Then I led a simple 10-minute guided meditation using deep yogic breathing to relax and find calm. We felt really centered in the present moment. Please know that this meditation is suitable for someone with little or no experience, and if you are a skilled meditator, you’ll enjoy the brief period of mindfulness.
I then showed three prints by Chizuko Yoshida, a Japanese woman printmaker from a family of three generations of women artists—rare in Japan! Her mother-in-law was a painter, and her daughter is a printmaker and installation artist. We started with slow looking and discussion of Rainy Day, Blue (1954), an abstract piece with geometric shapes and soft blue tones. Then we viewed Violet, in a White Layer (1968), a simple, embossed print that is mostly white with a bit of orange and violet. It’s Sally’s favorite. Garden of Butterflies (1980) seemed to be the most popular, with layers of flying butterflies on a background of flowers. One of the nice things about technology was our ability to zoom in to take a closer look at the artwork. Another was how people could participate in discussion at their own pace by writing in the chatbox or unmuting themselves. All three prints are currently on view at the museum, so you can see them in person when the museum opens on April 10.
You don’t need to be skilled in meditation or tech-savvy to enjoy an Artful Meditation tour. By the end of this tour, everyone was chatting! We hope you come to a future tour which will be held at noon on the first and third Thursdays of each month. You’ll find the event link on the Portland Art Museum calendar. We docents are eager to see visitors virtually and invite you to experience mindfulness and community through art!
Thanks, Edie and Sally
First and third Thursdays of each month
April 1, April 15, May 6, May 20, etc.