Paley Sculpture Being Installed at University of Rochester

Psychiatry Department Diminishing Stigma Through Art, Nature

April 21, 2014

The University of Rochester’s Department of Psychiatry and renowned Rochester metal sculptor Albert Paley are joining forces to support patients with mental health disorders and their families.

On Monday, April 28, Paley’s Portal, an eight-foot tall, steel sculpture, will be placed in the atrium garden at the department’s clinical service, Strong Behavioral Health, 300 Crittenden Boulevard.  Surrounded by greenery and natural light, the piece fabricated of weathered steel will inspire contemplation and add an even greater sense of dignity and warmth to the entranceway.

“We know it can be difficult to seek diagnosis and treatment for mental health disorders,” says Eric D. Caine, M.D., chair of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester.  “We also know a welcoming environment can help diminish the stigma.”

Aptly named, Portal is part of a nine-piece series of sculptures that explores the synergy between geometric and organic form.  In a description of the work, Paley says “this dependence/co-dependence, balance, and equilibrium reflects the dialogue between the logical and emotional spheres of perception and understanding.”  Before being placed on long-term loan to the University, Portal was exhibited throughout Europe and the United States.

“When we approached Paley Studios about the atrium garden, they responded almost immediately and gave us a number of choices.  This piece seemed to really fit the space, as well as the message we are trying to communicate,” says Caroline S. Nestro, M.S., R.N., associate director of the U of R’s Office of Mental Health Promotion.

Nestro adds the Psychiatry department is considering options to commission a permanent piece for the atrium, which opens to visitors entering from the outside.  The department has also created the Bridge Art Gallery, with rotating works in a variety of media, at the interior entrance to Strong Behavioral Health.

During the installation of Portal, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., the atrium will be closed.  Patients, family members, and staff will be redirected for approximately one hour. 

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Julie Philipp
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