Construction of the Children’s Hospital at Penn State Hershey is well underway. Completion is scheduled for December 2012. Along with the Hershey Cancer Institute and the Main Hospital Lobby, the building is sited along the Arc, the roadway and pedestrian spine that organizes the new front door of the medical center. Defined by this curved spine is the Front Garden, a large landscaped area that includes the short-term parking lots, and acts as the hospital forecourt.
Sited within the Front Garden will be a monumental sculpture, funded by generous donations. The sculpture will be thematically related to the Children’s Hospital and is intended as a new landmark at the front of the medical center. A selection committee was assembled with members representing Penn State University, Hershey Medical Center and Payette. After a brief design competition, the committee selected a piece by Albert Paley, an artist based in Rochester, NY. The monumental sculpture proposed by Paley will be made out of painted and Corten steel, and will be 40 feet high.
I visited the studios of Albert Paley last week along with lighting designers from Available Light. The purpose of the trip was to check on the progress of the assembly, coordinate installation and foundation details, and to explore lighting schemes for the sculpture.
Several lighting approaches were tested on the sculpture’s steel maquette, built at about 1/6th scale.
Paley’s studio is a fascinating space for creating art. A large industrial space located on the outskirts of Rochester, it is manned by 8 artists and technicians. The space is filled with tool racks, equipment, samples, and mockups, as well as sculptures in different stages of assembly. The pieces range in size from a few inches to dozens of feet. Upstairs, the studio’s offices house a great collection of maquettes and beautiful drawings of the artist’s work.
The piece will be shipped to the site in the fall, and its unveiling will coincide with the opening of Children’s Hospital project. Stay tuned for a great Sculpture in the Garden!