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“Mindfulness, for me, enables me to experience an art museum as if I’m listening to music. To just listen, attend to how all these objects make me feel.”

How can mindfulness change our experience of art? Experienced meditation teacher and guide Tracy Cochran sees museums as perfect places to practice the lessons of mindfulness. From focusing on how an artwork impacts the feelings in her body to using the meditation techniques of “beginner’s mind” or “don’t know mind” to understand a work of art in a new way, Cochran sees many opportunities for applying mindfulness in the museum.

In this episode, hosted by Getty Museum educator Lilit Sadoyan, Cochran shares her understanding of mindfulness and its role in art spaces as well as some techniques for practicing mindfulness in museums. Cochran teaches mindfulness meditation and mindful writing in the greater New York area at institutions such as the Rubin Museum of Art, New York Insight Meditation Center, and numerous schools, libraries, and corporations. She is also the editorial director of Parabola magazine.

A group of adults stand in a museum gallery around a marble statue and all point towards it

A group of museum-goers act out a sculpture’s pose

More to explore:
Tracy Cochran

Lilit Sadoyan: Hello, I am Lilit Sadoyan, a museum educator at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Welcome to Art + Ideas. I am your host for a three-episode series on mindfulness in the museum.
Tracy Cochran: Mindfulness, for me, enables me to experience an art museum as if I’m listening to music...

Music Credits
“The Dharma at Big Sur – Sri Moonshine and A New Day.” Music written by John Adams and licensed with permission from Hendon Music. (P) 2006 Nonesuch Records, Inc., Produced Under License From Nonesuch Records, Inc. ISRC: USNO10600825 & USNO10600824

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This post is part of Art + Ideas, a podcast in which Getty president Jim Cuno talks with artists, writers, curators, and scholars about their work.
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