Mindfulness in the Museum Convening


The Getty Center and Online

This is a past event

To attend in person, click the "Get Tickets" button above.
To watch on Zoomregister here.

Museums and works of art provide rich opportunities for mindfulness, a focused awareness of the present moment. This half-day convening brings together educators who have a mindfulness practice or a curiosity about mindfulness-based approaches to share and learn from one another. A series of talks by inspiring thought leaders offer case studies and strategies for integrating mindfulness with art in a museum setting. The program will be hosted both in-person (parking, coffee, and lunch are complimentary for registered participants) and streamed live online.

Check back for a forthcoming schedule of talks.

This convening is generously supported by Gregory Annenberg Weingarten and GRoW @ Annenberg.


9:00am – 9:05am
Welcome & Introduction

9:05am – 9:10am
Mindful Moment: Mountain Meditation

9:10am – 9:55am
Keynote Address and Meditation: Rhonda V. Magee

10:00am – 10:55am
Panel 1 | Slowing Down Together: Mindfulness Practices at Museums
Dawn Eshelman, Head of Programs, Rubin Museum of Art
Ashley Farmer, Co-Director of Learning and Engagement, Utah Museum of Fine Arts
Dr. Molly Medakovich, Teaching Specialist – Lifelong Learning & Accessibility, Denver Art Museum

10:55am – 11:00am
Mindful Moment: Thought Clouds Meditation

11:00am – 11:55am
Panel 2 | Art Impact: A Multi-visit Museum Mindfulness Program for Youth
Lilit Sadoyan, Gallery Educator, J. Paul Getty Museum
Lisa Davis, Education Specialist for School Communities, Getty Villa Museum
Raúl Flores; Artistic Director, artworxLA

11:55am – 12:00pm
Mindful Moment: Grounding Tree Meditation

12:00pm – 1:00pm

12:40pm – 12:55pm
Optional: Mindful Looking: Ruscha’s PICTURE WITHOUT WORDS (on-site in Harold M. Williams Auditorium Lobby + online)

1:00pm – 1:35pm
Panel 3 | Reflection and Response: Evaluating Mindfulness in Museums
Dr. Tedi Asher, Neuroscience Researcher, Peabody Essex Museum
Adrienne Quinn Washington, Research Associate, WestEd

1:35pm – 1:55pm
Coming Together and Co-Creating
Convening participants are invited to share best practices, guiding questions, and resources in a collaborative conversation.

1:55pm – 2:00pm
Final Remarks & Closing Meditation

2:00pm – 3:00pm
Optional: Sound Bath and Mindful Walking in the Central Garden (invitation to in-person attendees)

Presentation Descriptions and Speaker Bios

9:10am – 9:55am
Keynote Address and Meditation:
Rhonda V. Magee, MA, JD, Mindfulness Teacher and Author; Professor of Law, University of San Francisco

A sought-after mindfulness teacher, and a thought and practice innovator of mindfulness-based social justice principles, concepts and practices, Rhonda V. Magee, MA, JD, is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco. Magee has spent more than 20 years integrating law into higher education, leadership and everyday social engagement. Her work explores the intersections of anti-racist education, social justice, and contemplative practices, and offering trauma-sensitive practices to support healing, resilience, personal wellbeing and flourishing together. Grounded in the science of mindfulness, wellbeing and resilience, she integrates storytelling, movement, journaling and other research-based experiential practices for strengthening our inner resources for navigating a world of constant change.

In recognition of her uniquely innovative impact on the field of mindfulness and wellbeing in law, Magee was the inaugural recipient of the Reed Smith Excellence in Wellbeing in Law Award (2022), awarded after an independent, national selection process by the Institute for Wellbeing in Law.

A Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, she is an international keynote speaker and mindfulness teacher trainer with a particular emphasis on integrating mindfulness into everyday life in the face of the most vexing challenges of our times. She is a student of a range of Buddhist traditions and mindfulness masters, and is a lay teacher in the Peacemaker Order led by Upaya Zen Center founder Roshi Joan Halifax. She has served as an advisor to a range of leading mindfulness-based professional development organizations, including the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, the Brown Mindfulness Center, the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, and the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.

Magee was named one of Mindful Magazine’s Inaugural Twelve Powerful Women of the Mindfulness Movement in 2019. Her award-winning book, The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness (Penguin RandomHouse TarcherPerigee: 2019), was named one of the top ten books of the year by the Greater Good Science Center, and received similar recognition by Psychology Today and the editors of Mindful.org.

10:00am – 10:55am
Panel 1 | Slowing Down Together: Mindfulness Practices at Museums 

Dawn Eshelman
Description: Museum-based mindfulness meditation practice paired with art is a powerful means to support adult audiences to foster self-reflection and development. This presentation explores the importance of offering low-barrier, secular-friendly entry points to meditation at the Rubin Museum of Art and how museums are uniquely poised to do this. Moreover, the success of the Rubin’s mindfulness programs have extended into the digital realm, as a weekly podcast of the program, the “quiet hero” as I call it, reaches more listeners than annual museum visitors.

Dawn Eshelman is Head of Programs at the Rubin Museum of Art where she leads the weekly gathering and podcast, Mindfulness Meditation, and oversees programs for visitors of all ages. With previous roles at Japan Society, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Seattle Center, she centers front-end partnerships to maximize equity and public value. Her live and digital programmatic collaborations have been celebrated for their creativity and emotional impact, earning Webby honors for an original podcast and Best Museum Late Night Experience Worldwide for the Dream-Over. She has degrees from University of California and Bank Street College, where she earned an MS in Leadership in Museum Education and went on to teach adult development and museum education to graduate students. Building on a passion for human and organizational transformation, she consults with art institutions to support strategic growth that is mission-centered, community-rooted, compassionate, and artful.

Ashley Farmer
Description: How might mindfulness and slow-looking in the art museum support community wellness? How can these programs be adapted to support distinct audiences? This presentation will explore the ways the Utah Museum of Fine Arts infuses the art of slowing down into programs designed to support the wellbeing of groups with specific needs, from youth to medical school students to older adults.

Ashley Farmer is a museum educator whose love of community art engagement took her from teaching in the college classroom to working in the art museum. As Co-Director of Learning and Engagement at Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Ashley works with her team to provide programming for youth and adult audiences, support interdisciplinary collaborations on the University of Utah campus, develop partnerships with a diversity of communities across the state, and facilitate meaningful connections with the museum’s global collection. Ashley previously served as the school and teacher programs manager at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY; prior to that, she served as a teaching artist in Syracuse (NY) Public Schools.

Molly Medakovich
Description: In our fast-paced and always-connected world, what better place than an art museum to turn down the tempo and arrive in the present moment? In recent years, the Denver Art Museum has created contemplative program experiences that invite visitors to find relaxation, reflection, and calm in our galleries. Learn how a selection of our gallery programs and self-led experiences encourage a mindful exploration of art and help participants linger longer as they catch their breath and experience the museum in new ways.

Molly Medakovich is a museum educator at the Denver Art Museum (DAM), adjunct professor of art history at the University of Denver, and an independent art historian. At the DAM, she serves as a teaching specialist for lifelong learning. An advocate for a diverse range of adult visitors, she designs and facilitates programs that tap into the power of art as a catalyst for personal and intellectual growth and a vehicle for healthy aging. In addition to leading and coordinating lectures and courses, gallery programs, and in-community engagement, Molly has worked on several projects to support family audiences, visitor creativity, and creative aging programs. She earned a BA in art history (University of Iowa) and an MA and PhD in art history (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

11:00am – 11:55am
Panel 2 | Art Impact: A Multi-visit Museum Mindfulness Program for Youth

Description: This group conversation explores the Getty’s pilot program, Art Impact, as a case-study for creating mindfulness-based art experiences for teens. Panelists will discuss the arc of program research and development, goals, objectives, partnership, operational needs, and impact.

Lilit Sadoyan is a museum educator, independent curator, and art historian. As Gallery Educator at the Getty Museum since 2008, she facilitates experiences that encourage curiosity, inspire learning, and include diverse perspectives. She leads the Museum’s initiative to investigate the impact of mindfulness in museums and is co-author of Activity-Based Teaching in the Art Museum (2020). Lilit has also held numerous curatorial positions at The Huntington Art Collections, Art, Design & Architecture Museum, LACMA, and the Getty. Lilit is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she specializes in 18th-century French decorative arts and sculpture, as well as the history of collecting and display. Prior to commencing her doctoral work, Lilit graduated from the University of Southern California with a dual degree–a BFA in fine arts and a BA in mathematics, with a minor in art history. She received her MA in the history of art from the University of California, Riverside.

Lisa Davis is the Education Specialist for School Communities, in which she manages programs and operations for the Getty Villa Museum’s 55,000 student visitors per year. She began working in the arts in 2004 as a Teaching Artist for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta and at the High Museum of Art as the Coordinator of Education Volunteers. In 2010, she joined the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, where she focused on expanding the student docent program and developing the gallery tour program. Following her time in Chicago, Lisa enjoyed the sunshine of San Diego, leading the education department at Lux Art Institute in developing a wide range of intergenerational opportunities to broaden and deepen public engagement with art and living artists. Lisa holds a BA in studio art from Rollins College and an MA Ed from Georgia State University.

Raúl Flores is Artistic Director at artworxLA, an arts education organization that combats the high school dropout rate in LA County with a healing-centered arts practice. With over 20 years of experience in arts education and community engagement, Flores previously served in teen, school, library, and outreach programs at MOCA and LACMA. As Artistic Director, he forges partnerships and fosters dialogue with museums, creative businesses, cultural and civic institutions to identify the intersections between youth voice and relevant content. Flores is humbled to collaborate with multiple organizations in artworxLA’s expanded efforts into arts intensive academies, workforce development/creative pathways, and youth justice programming. He currently serves on the curriculum leadership team for Creative Wellbeing, an approach for fostering communities of wellness that was developed collaboratively by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture, Office of Child Protection, Department of Mental Health, and Arts for Healing and Justice Network.

1:00pm – 1:35pm
Panel 3 | Reflection and Response: Evaluating Mindfulness in Museums

Tedi Asher
Description: A Neuro-Informed Lens on Mindfulness Practices in Museums. This talk will explore how a neuro-informed lens on mindfulness might be able to help art museums shape and assess the impact of mindfulness-based experiences in museums for a range of audiences. We will briefly review the role of the human nervous system in mediating the documented benefits of mindfulness practices for cognitive and emotional processing as well as overall physical and mental health. Building on that foundation, we will examine how metrics reflecting nervous system function (biometrics) can be incorporated into evaluation studies querying audiences' experiences of mindfulness programs in museums. The hope is that this neuro-informed vantage on mindfulness might be able to meaningfully contribute to strategies for designing mindfulness-based experiences with art effectively and inclusively.

Tedi Asher, PhD, is the neuroscience researcher at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). She joined PEM in 2017 after completing her doctoral degree in the biological and biomedical sciences program at Harvard Medical School. Her training as a basic biologist has lent Tedi an appreciation of how mechanistic understandings of living systems can meaningfully inform our lived experience. Her current work explores ways to couple understandings of the human nervous system with caring curiosity to connect across differences and build new understandings of individuals, communities, and human experience more generally.

Adrienne Quinn Washington
Description: This presentation will detail a recent small-scale evaluation of Getty’s Art Impact Mindfulness pilot program. In addition to sharing findings from the evaluation, we will discuss the methodology of the study, including decision points and issues for consideration.

Adrienne Quinn Washington is research, evaluation, and technical assistance generalist at WestEd, a nonprofit research, development, and service agency. She has devoted almost three decades to conducting research and evaluation studies of education- and community-based programs, including diverse content areas such as arts education and integration, school improvement and reform, college and career readiness, and alternative education. In addition to a wide breadth of experience in conducting mixed-methods research, she also develops and conducts workshops, webinars, and other technical assistance supports for a variety of clients and stakeholders. Washington holds a BA in psychology and an MA in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton.

Sara Blowers
When Sara first heard the sound of a crystal singing bowl, her thoughts were completely cleared away by the tone. Before that moment she didn’t know it was possible to have a clear mind. When she started teaching yoga in 2010 she would play a crystal bowl during the final resting pose hoping to give her students a similar mind-liberating experience. One day after class in 2017, a student inquired if Sara gave full-hour soundbaths. She figured that was the sign to do a soundhealing training. She learned the techniques from Kris Matsuoka and began offering soundbaths out of her home and at YogaWorks. Soundbaths are one of the most universal ways to reset the nervous system into rest and digest mode. Among many other gifts, soundbaths can alleviate pain, connect you with your intuitive wisdom and bring you into a meditative state.

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