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How To Mindfully View a Public Artwork

1. When you first see the artwork, pause and observe how it sits in its surroundings. See the space around it, the buildings, the landscaping, the environment. How does the sculpture interact with the space it is in? Is the space crowded with people? Is it empty? Are you alone or with others?

2. Take in how you are at this moment. Are you calm, sad, tired, stressed, in a hurry, surprised, happy?

3. Notice the light. What time of day is it? Is the light direct, bounced or diffused? Natural, created, both?

4. Take in the weather. Is the temperature warm or cold? Is it wet or dry, calm or windy, cloudy or sunny?

5. Approach the work. As you walk towards it, observe how its scale changes in reference to your presence.

6. If it is a fountain, study the water. How does it flow and fall? What types of spray do you see? Is the water in droplets, streams, sheets? How many types of falling water can you see? Is the surface of the pool calm reflective or stirred and choppy? Can you see reflections of the surroundings in the pool?

7. What do you hear? If there is water, how does it sound? Does the sound of water change the sounds around you?

8. If there is water, feel free to put your hand in it and stir it around. Splash it. Feel it.

9. If you can, walk all the way around the work, paying attention to how its form changes from different angles, both internally with the work, and in relationship to its surroundings.

10. Reverse directions and walk around a second time. Be slow. Take it in--the form of the work, its shape and surface, the light, the air, the sounds, the immediate surroundings, and the broader environment.

11. Observe again how you are at this moment. Has your own inner state changed?

12. As you leave, express gratitude. Come back again and see the work in different weather, times of the day. If you pass a work frequently, try and be present with it each time. Observe how it changes with changes in your inner self as well as external changes--the time of day, weather, seasons.

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