This summer, Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) is launching Mindfulness at the Museum, a series of drop-in sessions focused on helping our wider community—inside and outside of the museum—to have access to tools to become more aware. Mindfulness meditation can help us to develop healthier minds and bodies, reduce stress, foster compassion, and increase our memory skills, among many other studied benefits. Participants may discover that this appreciation of the “here and now” extends outside the museum.
Our launch will consist of two parts: a seated meditation and discussion on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at noon, and a walking meditation in the galleries on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 5:30PM. These free drop-in sessions are open to all. No special clothing is required. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. No prior meditation experience is necessary.
Classes will continue in the fall; stay tuned for dates.
Generous support for this program is provided by the Hemera Foundation.
1st and 3rd Tuesdays with Hariprasad Kowtha
12PM to 1PM
June 6, June 20, July 18, and August 1
These sessions will begin with a half-hour lightly guided seated meditation. Afterwards, participants will read and discuss readings related to exhibitions on view. The session will end with a 5-minute meditation.
2nd and 4th Thursdays with Sandi Herman
Galleries (meet in Lobby)
5:30PM to 6:30PM
June 8, June 22, July 13, and July 27
These sessions will introduce participants to everyday mindfulness, focusing on the present moment. They will begin with a guided meditation in a seated posture and then move into a walking meditation through the galleries. The session will end in a seated posture, reflecting on the experience.
HARIPRASAD KOWTHA is an actor, teacher, and community organizer. Born the son of immigrant parents from India, he began a formal meditation practice as a youth in Phoenix, AZ. Since moving to Philadelphia in 2008, he has been teaching yoga and theatre to youth as a means of building community, healing the body, and sharpening the mind. In January, he created the twice-a-month People of Color Meditation Group at the Philadelphia Shambhala Center. He also organizes with the Philadelphia South Asian Collective around Dalit visibility, immigrant rights, and union development. In 2016, he and his partner co-founded the Mustard Seed Film Festival, the first and only independent, contemporary South Asian film festival in Philadelphia. He is also the youth programming director of Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed (T. O. Philly), a collective of organizers who explore physical theatre and movement as a means to break down systems of oppression.
As a health educator for over 30 years, SANDI HERMAN has developed expertise in holistic approaches to stress reduction. After working for two decades as a women’s health care advocate and educator, she came to Penn in 2001, providing smoking cessation counseling to individuals and groups. Since 2007, she has conducted workshops on stress reduction, mindfulness, and self-care for Penn students and staff. Incorporating such mind/body practices as meditation, guided imagery, self-applied massage, and mindful movements, these workshops encourage participants to experience consciously the present moment with kindness and compassion for themselves and others. In addition to these workshops, Sandi leads weekly meditation sessions for Penn students and, at Student Health Services, offers individual sessions for stress reduction and smoking cessation. Sandi began practicing meditation in 1987 and, over the years, has studied meditation and mindfulness with a number of wonderful teachers.