The Art Of Healing

Mar 18 2012 @ 3:07pm

Pinkheather

Christopher Jobson features some stunning photos from Anna Schuleit's recent art installation, "Bloom":

In 2003 a building housing the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC) was slated for demolition to make way for updated facilities. The closure was a time for reflection and remembrance as the MMHC had been in operation for over 9 decades and had touched countless thousands of patients and employees alike, and the pending demolition presented a unique problem. How does one memorialize a building impossibly rich with a history of both hope and sadness, and do it in a way that reflects not only the past but also the future?

The artist filled the entire space with 28,000 potted flowers. She explains:

After four public days of “Bloom”, the building was closed for good and we delivered all twenty-eight thousand flowers to shelters, half-way houses, and psychiatric hospitals throughout New England—which is why I didn’t want to work with cut flowers. I wanted these flowers to continue onward, after the installation. Bloom was a reflection on the healing symbolism of flowers given to the sick when they are bedridden and confined to hospital settings. As a visiting artist I had observed an astonishing absence of flowers in psychiatric settings. Here, patients receive few, if any, flowers during their stay. Bloom was created to address this absence…

A Dish reader first brought Schuleit's project to our attention.

(Photo: Pink heather in one of the waiting rooms, courtesy of Schuleit)