Every year, renowned artist Albert Paley of Rochester completes three to four monumental public sculptures. But the man of steel faced traumatic burn injuries when he was cutting a piece of metal with a blow-torch July 26, 2002. The gas line burst and he erupted in flames with burns over 30 percent of his body.
“I came close to dying and was put on life support,” Paley recalls. “It was a long road to healing—the experience was humbling and the journey life changing.”
The experience also made Albert and his wife, Frances, realize the importance of helping burn patients and their families. Paley Studios is hosting the Gateway to Healing Art Showcase and Auction 7-9 p.m. Saturday at RIT University Gallery, in James E. Booth Hall.
The event features remarks by Albert Paley, music by the Dave Mancini Trio, a live and silent auction, and culinary tastings and beverages. Tickets are $100 per guest and proceeds will benefit the Finger Lakes Regional Burn Association.
University Gallery is currently showcasing the “Frances & Albert Paley” exhibition—featuring steel sculptures and proposal sketches of sculpture commissions by Paley, and photo-enhanced images by Frances Paley. The show is open to the public and runs through May 26, with an artist reception set for 5 to 7 p.m. May 15.
Paley holds the Charlotte Fredericks Mowris Endowed Chair in RIT’s School for American Crafts and is recognized worldwide for his towering steel sculptures. The Sentinel, a 110-ton, 73-foot-high, steel-stainless steel-bronze work of art, has been the focal point in the heart of the campus since its installation in 2003.
University Gallery is located adjacent to RIT’s Vignelli Center for Design Studies—home to the entire archive of graphic and product designs by renowned international designers Massimo and Lella Vignelli. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For information, contact Jessica Erickson at 585-475-2404 or firstname.lastname@example.org.