Reaching Into Medfield

We invite you to celebrate the grand opening of Reaching Into Medfield’s Collaborative Art Project on Sunday, October 17 at 2 PM. This public art project explores student perspectives around fitting in; being good enough; achieving; finding purpose; mental health; and substance use. This group has come together to connect with each other and the community-at-large to remind us that the struggle is real – but so is our support for each other. Come see what we’ve created!

Reaching into Medfield Opening Celebration Flyer

The hard work put into this project by this group of Medfield High School students will be celebrated with the community that it intends to serve and hold space for. There will be speakers, music, food, activities, and even a spoken word performance by the students responsible for the creation of the project.

We hope that you will join us to reflect on the vision, process, and creation put into this project by local youth. These upcycled benches are a symbol of our communal struggles and the dream of a future where we can talk about mental health more openly, encourage each other’s creativity, and explore these themes of struggle & resilience that touch us all.

Hope bench

Background 

In 2003, the once bustling grounds of the Medfield State Hospital (originally known as the Medfield Insane Asylum) shut down and the space lay abandoned despite the occasional trespassing. However, the potential of these grounds to host exciting opportunities did not go unnoticed for long. The old medical facility may appear to be shrouded in mystery, but in reality, it is unfolding into a colorful haven for local creatives.

Spooky chair

SPOKE  was invited by the Medfield Cultural Alliance to pair up with Medfield Outreach and gather a group of local teenagers to work on cultivating an artistic healing space on the grounds of the hospital. The focus of the project was to create a piece that would spark a greater dialogue between these teenage artists and their audience on issues of substance abuse in the community. The site had been previously known for being a space where folks would come to drink alcohol and use drugs. However, as the project progressed, it was revealed to those participating that substance abuse itself was much more than a one-dimensional issue – it was one that was deeply interlaced with societal pressures, lack of community, the stigma around mental health, and more.

Working together!

The group came upon four benches that were awkwardly located on the grounds. Benches are meant to be a place for folks to come gather with each other and appreciate what’s around them, but the state and placement of these benches created a sense of confinement instead. These benches – this tangible, small element of being in community with others – became the focus of a beautiful project. The benches were redone with mosaic slats that contain inspirational words or sayings: fearless, resilient, hopeful for world’s strength, and bravery. After being stripped down, the original wood of the benches was discovered to be purple heart rainforest wood – a beauty that would have never been revealed without the love, labor, and thought poured into this project. On the benches, QR codes were placed that have links to suicide hotlines and other services that those in need of mental health support could utilize.

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