Stephen Holtzman, Founder 

Stephen Holtzman

As an undergraduate student I attended a lecture on art by Ad Reinhardt, an abstract expressionist famous for black canvasses. Reinhardt suggested when attending a gallery or museum, quickly view the works of art. Pick one and stand in front of it for 30 minutes. This is the way I have looked at art for 50 years. I have also been a meditator for most of my life.

In 2010 I was at the de Young Museum in San Francisco at an exhibit of Impressionist paintings. I stood in front of a large painting by Henri Rousseau, The Snake Charmer. As I stood there I felt spiritual energy moving through my body. The Chinese refer to this as Chi energy, I was told by a colleague that I was experiencing Spontaneous Chi Gong.

This became a regular occurrence. I was able to enter into a deep experience of gentle devotion in relationship to a work of art. I have traveled to museums in Europe and Asia I had many such experiences with paintings, sculptures, icons and altars.

In 2014, I read an article in the New York Times, “Walking Slowly Through a Museum.” On Slow Art Day, I was invited to teach a workshop at the de Young Museum of Art entitled Looking at Art with a Gentle Gaze. In 2016 I taught at LACMA, Los Angeles.

My career as a chiropractor spanned 37 years. Many of my patients were suffering from emotional trauma causing chronic physical pain. In Oregon the chiropractic license covers counseling. I took post graduate training in Stress Management. After a successful career, I retired in 2013. I presently teach Meditation and Anger Management at San Quentin Prison.

Please contact me if interested in bringing Experiencing Art workshops to your institution.

Suggested Reading

The Art of Slowing Down in a Museum, NY Times Oct. 9 2014, Stephanie Rosenblum

Concerning the Spiritual in Art, Wassily Kandinsky

Art As Experience, John Dewey

Ways of Seeing, John Berger

Experiencing Art in the Brain of the Beholder, Arthur P. Shimamura

The Gaze of Love, Wendy Beckett

The Arts and the Creation of Mind, Elliot W. Eisner

The Meaning of the Body, Aesthetics of Human Understanding, Mark Johnson

Releasing the Imagination, Essays on Education, the Arts and Social Change, Maxine Greene

The Zen of Seeing, Frederick Franck

Teaching in the Art Museum, Interpretation as Experience, Rika Burnham and Elliott Kai-Kee

Feeling Beauty, The Neuroscience of Aesthetic Experience, G. Gabrielle Starr