Unbound transforms a recreation hall in one of California’s largest psychiatric hospitals into an evocative space of healing, creativity and wonder. Unbound brings diverse people together to make hundreds of paper mâché winged hearts for a stunning artwork of hope and collective liberation. This 60-ft central sculpture features countless winged hearts escaping an antique birdcage, growing ever larger and more expressive as they fly through one of DSH-Napa’s large halls. The hearts grow in size from 6 inches to 9 feet.
In collaboration with the DSH-Napa Rehabilitation Services Department, headed by Camille Gentry, RTC, the project involves a team of rehabilitation therapists and 3-months of programming for hundreds of patients and staff, integrating other modalities such as music, movement, poetry and spoken word. The installation expands and grows over the 3-month period as various sized hearts are hung on the sculpture as they are produced by patients and the outside community.
Evan Graff MA, ATR, an Art Therapist at DSH-Napa proposed the project to the hospital, and sees it as “offering hope, resilience and faith” at a time when patients’ spirits are very low, with having only virtual visitations since the beginning of the pandemic. In helping the DSH-Napa community heal from the isolation and difficulties of the past year, the project aims to also increase compassion and decrease stigma around issues of mental health in our community.
Unbound artist Tracy Ferron states, “The intention of the project is for compassion and a sense of connection, of our common humanity, to ripple out as an antidote to the fear and division plaguing our society. It is my belief that personal healing, the forging of a robust social fabric and creating a just world are all intimately interwoven.”
This visceral artwork expresses our collective desire as human beings, for liberation, for beauty and connection; however, it is created for and with a population most often forgotten in our society.
At its core, Unbound is a testament to how our human family can come together with open hearts to create beauty, forge compassion and acknowledge those who feel most unseen and unloved in our society.
The installation is scheduled for September 2021, for which hundreds of winged hearts need to be pre-made for patients to paint. Community participants can also make and paint their own winged heart tobe included as part of the exhibit. Life on Earth Art is currently coordinating schools, families, and community groups in Northern California to come to their new studio in downtown Petaluma for socially distanced winged heart making from April-November. LOEA is also interested in collaborating with artists and art therapists explore how this modality can best be used for catalytic personal and community healing.
Unable to make hearts? Please consider a tax-deductible donation in support of the project at givelively.org.
To get involved, please contact Tracy Ferron at tracy@LifeOnEarthArt.com or 415-755-7033.