Friday, November 9, 2012

"Never Worry Alone": Project Bloom

I was reading this interview  about "Project Bloom: A Project for the Massachusetts Mental Health Center."  The artist Anna Schuleit discusses how she was commissioned for this project  in remembrance and tribute to the 90+ years of providing care to some of society's most disenfranchised individuals.  I worked as a psychology intern at Mass Mental while they were housed in their temporary location after the demolition of the old site.  I found this interview and the story behind the project extremely fascinating.  All images and quotes are from the article... please read the full interview to see more pictures and explanation and inspiration about the project. 

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, in the spirit of offering and transition.

It was a strange duality: at its core this project was intended to allow people free access to a building that had always been locked and mysterious, while opening its doors also (and especially) to those who had been there for years. The building meant many things to many people, as a workplace, a refuge, a place of confinement. The installation of live flowers and audio (a collage of the sounds of the building before it closed being played over the old PA system) elicited as many reactions as there are stories.  -- Anna Schuleit

“‘Never worry alone’ was a Dr. Tom Gutheil classic line, but because of the lack of social support, too many patients who came here had to worry alone. Anna saw these corridors as places to be filled with growth. For all the patients who never received flowers, these flowers are for you.” -- a guest

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