Uncommon Entry 12 x 12 Collage on Canvas

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Spirits Set Free" is my 12 x 12 collage on canvas entry in the Uncommon : Exploring the Grand Traverse Commons competition. The Grand Traverse Commons is a renewed, refurbished set of beautiful buildings that formerly housed the Traverse City State Hospital /(insane asylum...old terms). When the state closed the hospital, the patients and residents were transfered or sent out into society. The buildings sat empty and derelict for a number of years until a group of people got together to restore them, make them places of business, condominiums, and set them to a better purpose.

Even though all of this has been done, and I do praise the effort, the place holds an ominous spot in my heart. My collage is dedicated to a school classmate who had a sad childhood and tormented youth. He finally collapsed in our Senior year and was taken to the State Hospital. As young people, we hardly understood his struggles. He was released, but never fully recovered. Witnessing his breakdown and trauma has always stuck in my mind. My picture is dark and distorted, but the cages are open and the birds (spirits) have taken flight. The robins continue to sing and bluebirds rest on the fence showing hope and happiness. Pretty heavy, I know.

The exhibit will be held in th Rinaldo Hall Gallery, Grand Traverse Commons , November 5- January 1.


  1. Wow, what a story, Beth. I've seen those buildings a few times when we'd vacation up there when I was a kid. I agree with you that sometimes a place holds onto its feelings no matter what becomes of it later on. Great collage. I really like the distortion of the buildings. They look sinister even with all the birds and blue sky.

  2. Thanks, Leslie. I'm trying to I get across that sinister and morbid idea, but then the idea of hope too.