Thistle coming to MSH

Thistle: a temporary art project at Medfield State Hospital
Submitted by Jean Mineo, Art in Public Places, a Medfield Foundation Inc. initiative

Exhibition dates: May – October, 2015


Thistle is a temporary outdoor exhibition of plastic “collars”, installed around tree trunks as a tribute to trees. It is based on a piece the artist created for an ancient apple tree in her backyard. The project first became public in 2011 with nine bands installed as part of Art in the Park, in historic Elm Park (Worcester).

Evans realized the celebratory appropriateness of both the bright pink color and form. The Long Horned Beetle infestation had forced the removal of 28,000 trees, leaving both parks and people devastated. These bands of “Thistles” gave the trees a very distinct look of celebration as victors of the blight. Other installations have occurred in Concord, Stockbridge, Providence, RI and Stowe,

Each Thistle band is customized in size to the tree, made of plastic hardware cloth and ties, and affixed around the tree by tying the ends of the band together. The tree is not harmed and the bands are easily removed at the end.

An installation of up to 24 Thistles is proposed for the trees lining Hospital Road and within the adjacent open space. Volunteers will be asked to adopt and assemble a Thistle (with instruction from Evans). The artist will run a workshop at Zullo Gallery in March, installation is proposed for May – October.

The goal is to draw attention to the open space at the front of the property and engage people in thinking about the property in a new way (other than a hospital). Funding will be sought from the Cultural Council and sponsors. No additional insurance is needed.

Catherine Evans is a Boston based artist. Her art deals with the repurposing of common objects; transforming everyday materials into the powerful, and the unordinary; stretching preconceived notions about that object. Multiples and repetition are an important part of her work.

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