The first image I saw of Anna Schuleit’s 2003 art installation project Bloom was a sea of orange tulips, lit up as if they were made of glass, in an old room with an office chair floating among them and an old air conditioner window unit. It was otherworldly and transcendent, and then I read that it was in a mental hospital, and the intensity of it tightened and then released a flurry of emotions.
When artist Anna Schuleit heard that the Massachusetts Mental Health Center was closing after 91 years (the staff and services were going to be moved to a new location while a new facility was built,) she proposed an art project as an act of awareness and remembrance. She was able to cover the entire facility in a carpet of flowers for the project, and the staff, patients, and community were able to visit it while it was in this ephemeral, transitional state.
I could try to describe the catch in my throat these images evoke for me, this delicate feeling in my nerve endings, but I simply can’t. It’s just sitting with me, making me feel a bit more human and connected.
There are many more photos on Anna Schuleit’s website, but unfortunately they are very small. I tried in vain to find a larger image of one of my favorites, the wildflowers on the 4th floor.