Blog week 5                                 

APP is working on an exciting photo commission for Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare Center, creating photographs to be part of an Art-Cart that will allow patients at the hospital an opportunity to select a photo to hang in the bedroom while they are there. All APP artists will be involved in this 30-week project.

Week 5 we continue our discussion of arts and mental health.  This week we focused on the physical space of the “Psychiatric hospital”, while also remaining sensitive to cultural notions or stigmas that may be attached to mental heath facilities.  We then began our conversation of arts impacting a public environment by viewing images from Anna Schuleit’s  instillation  Bloom  a public art work commissioned by the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. Schuleit purchased 28,000 potted plants and filled nearly every square foot of the MMHC buildings.  Students engaged with this work, and shared many ideas about the function and feel of the modern mental health facility and concluded that most psychiatric hospitals are designed to be functional for physical needs, but often not emotional needs.

After establishing a need for  an emotional or personal outlet within the walls of the psychiatric facility in class discussion shifted to focus back on our ABH project and possible approaches to a long term in-depth project. The remainder of class time was spent in a group mapping activity where everyone brainstormed on possible ‘Big Ideas’ and themes for the ABH project.


ABH Project —  What’s the Big Idea??

1. Big Ideas: Broad, important human issues– Big Ideas are often characterized by complexity and ambiguity.    Big ideas can represent a host of concepts/ themes that form the idea.


2.  Themes: A specific message conveyed by a work of art.  Themes can be implied, and not stated.  They are single concepts, and can provide meaning to a work of art.  The reason why or meaning behind a particular artwork.


3.  Subject matter:  What is visibly shown in the artwork.  A subject can stand of r a theme or big idea beyond the subject matter itself.

(Group A)–Tuesday group  mapping activity

* poverty, freedom, environment, spirituality, hope, ritual, time, humanity, family, community, dreams, companionship, support, empowering, empathy, compassion, comfort, beauty, personality, individualism, you are not alone

(Group B)–Wednesdays group mapping activity

*Recovery, hope, renewal, regeneration, encouragement, motivation, celebration, power, emptiness, art as medicine, spiritual, nature, serenity, patience, peer support not alone, freedom, balance, simplicity, empowerment, personality, love, life, laughter, connecting, imagination, humor

(Group C)– Thursdays group mapping activity

*Family tree, hope, life, nature, love, peace, connection, religion, politics, spirituality, empowerment, compassion, loss, self esteem, self worth, perception of reality, serenity, sensitivity, (sensitive to how work may effect viewers) strength, dreams, insecure, death, resurrection, despair, overwhelmed, envy

Homework assignment: Big ideas, themes, and subjects

1.  complete your mapping activity, showing a big idea, themes and subjects.

2.  Select one theme to work with this week

3.  Select at least one subject to represent that theme

4.  Relax Look at this assignment as an open-ended journey or learning process

5.  Photograph your subject throughout this week