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Indepth Arts News:

"Making the building sing: An artistic tribute for one of the oldest mental hospitals in the nation "
2000-11-18 until 2000-11-30
Revolving Museum
, MA, USA United States of America

On November 18, the former Northampton State Hospital in Northampton, MA, will resound with the choirs of J. S. Bach's Magnificat. On a scale of 414,000 sq ft of forgotten interior space, hundreds of speakers will be installed to make the building sing in memory of the thousands of patients who lived and died in this state institution since its founding in 1856. Among the assembled will be former patients, employees, and the general public from Massachusetts and beyond.

The idea for this unique memorial comes from the young painter and installation artist Anna Schuleit, a German-born RISD graduate and current Revolving Museum member. Schuleit has her studio in Boston's Fort Point Artist Community from where she works to make this idea come to life. It took 26 months of meetings with lawyers and state officials to obtain the permission for the use of the grounds alone. Schuleit's project brought her in contact with numerous individuals who became supporters of her idea to memorialize the decaying building with a musical installation that has never happened on such a scale and site before.

With the help of many volunteers and organizations who believe in Schuleit's vision, the artist is now working on the last preparations for the event on November 18. Ten thousand invitations have been sent to a wide-ranging audience in and beyond Massachusetts, and an award-winning website has been created at: http://www.1856.org. A German documentary film team arrived in Boston last week to film the event and the days leading up to it.


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