Breath, Light, and Distance

A cloudscape of the western sky with beams of light and a small mountain top town visible.

Image credit (detail): Eric Sloane, Sky City and Skyscape, 1983, Oil on panel. Gift of Gertrude Vanderveer Spratlen. Collection of the Springfield Art Museum. 

Exhibit Details

April 20, 2024 - September 1, 2024
Eldredge Gallery

Mounting research shows viewing artwork correlates to lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression partly through a reduction of cortisol (a stress hormone), slowing heart rates, and lowering blood pressure. Simultaneously, artwork that a viewer deems “beautiful” triggers the release of dopamine (a chemical related to feelings of love, pleasure, and desire) into the brain.

Similarly, the act of cloud watching, also known as cloud spotting or cloud gazing, has been shown to lower stress and anxiety levels while boosting mindfulness, mood, imagination, and perceived creativity levels. This exhibition seeks to unite the two activities to facilitate a positive experience for viewers’ mental health and physical well-being.

This special exhibition features cloudscapes from the Museum's permanent collection in a range of media. These works were selected for their depictions of rolling clouds, wide expanses of bright light, and room to breathe - from open vistas of big sky at elevations of great height to clear far-reaching horizons at sea level. Featured artists include: Alice Dalton Brown, Yvonne Jacquette, Robert Kipniss, Patrick Procktor, Dag Hol, Kenneth V. White, and work attributed to George Inness, among others.

This exhibit continues to investigate the ways that the community uses the Museum’s permanent collection, and the ways it is “put to work” on our behalf. Breath, Light, and Distance is guest curated by Joshua Best, Museum Affairs Officer for Audience Development.

Exhibit Resources

Pulse Points

As you tour the exhibition, you will be prompted to note your heart rate, respiratory rate, and mindfulness level, then reassess and reflect after moving through the exhibition. Look out for Pulse Points in our other galleries to extend this experience.

FREE Take-Home Project Bag: Mindful Making, Clouds & Zentangles - Registration Opens May 2024!

Practice mindful art-making, examine your emotions, and experience stillness and purposeful contemplation with cloud-making and Zentangle activities. Register for your free project bag and then pick it up in the Museum's Lobby during our normal hours of operation. Don't forget to share your work in progress or completed project with us on social media using the hashtag #sgfprojectbag

The Cloud Appreciation Society

Related Programs

Curator Talk and Tour
Friday, May 24, 2024, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM.

Join guest curator Joshua Best as he discusses the impetus for this special exhibition, the process of working with the Museum's permanent collection, and enjoy a tour of the exhibition. Free and open to the public.

Slow Viewing with Shauna LeAnn Smith: Untitled Kakejiku
Thursday, July 25, 2024, 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM.

Slow Viewing is a supportive practice for anyone who wants to develop their skills of interpretation, observation, and discussing art. Guests spend an hour carefully observing and speaking about the works on view, resulting in a deeper understanding of how they and others relate to the artwork and to each other. This program is facilitated by artist Shauna LeAnn Smith. This program is free, but space in-gallery is limited so registration is required.

  1. Exhibit Support

The 2024 Exhibition Season is presented by Friends of the Springfield Art Museum, Inc.

Lead sponsorship of this exhibition is provided by Springfield Black Tie, Inc.

Springfield Black Tie logo featuring a stylized black tie on a white background.