For a few years the biggest museums around the world have been developing surprising programs. They offer their visitors the possibility to combine physical and cultural activities. New relation to the collections’ Artworks for some, audience diversification means for others, museums are pushing boundaries.
A new trend for a long-term impact on healthcare
Studies about the positive impact of cultural activities and visits to museums are far from new. Indeed, the British Arts Impact Fund in 2011 already showed that people who visit cultural institutions and who are the most in contact with Art for the 12 months are 60% more likely to feel healthier than the others. However, the practice of physical activities including the Yoga boom among other Asian disciplines is very new. It appeared first in Northern American where in 2014 the Brooklyn Museum but also the Rubin Museum of New York offered Yoga classes in the middle of their Art collections. As a result, when such classes would usually host about forty participants maximum, the ones organized by museums could reach up to 500 attendees. Alicia Boone, Brooklyn Museum Adult Programs Manager recently stated: “we provide intentional programs to make a deep and meaningful connection to works of art. By joining us at the Museum for this restorative program, you can connect back to yourself and your spirit in a beautiful, non-traditional space. Those are the memories that can leave an imprint that can last a lifetime.”
Open museums to diversify the audience
The idea of integrating disciplines that used be excluded from exhibition spaces is also a means of offering a less elitist access to culture. To surprise the regulars and to attract new comers are the main goals of such initiatives. Originally from the United States of America, this practice quickly spread to the other world capital cities. As a result, the Guimet Museum in Paris, the Louvre-Lens, the Palais de Tokyo among others, offer a wide range of classes from Yoga, Pilates Qi Gong and other disciplines. Miryam Pol who initiated the Pilates classes’ project at the Louvre-Lens told Beaux-Arts Magazine: “the metamorphosis of the spirits through the connection with the Artworks delicately moves with the one of the bodies thanks to Pilates.” On the Palais de Tokyo side, Founder of The Yoga House Maud Chuffart implemented a series of Iyengar Yoga classes she uses to “prepare” the body to the exhibition. By inviting visitors to disconnect with the world the idea is to create a new frame to see the Artworks differently.
From Yoga to Detox: the Centre Pompidou’s project
The Centre Pompidou in Paris launched last April the Art Detox mornings. The concept which is limited in time is to discover an Artwork in three steps. First through a series of poses extracted from the Do-in Shiatsu followed by an auto-massage and relaxation session. Finally, the activity terminates with a tasting of Arpège awarded chef Alain Passard’s creations. The participants then attend an exclusive conference with an Art historian. The opening of museums is far from new but it seems to have been accelerating recently. However, the different projects we can witness are mainly coming from the institutions in the world’s wealthiest countries. In addition, the access to the activites is not free of charge. You will have to pay between 10 and 14 dollars to attend a Yoga class at the Brooklyn Museum and between 18 and 20 Euros for a Detox morning at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Read our article about the decline of the Photography market here.