On the front lawn of a hospital in Gloucester County stands an ornate and colorful glass structure at a towering height of 16 feet, with whimsical shapes protruding from all sides.
Donated as a gift to Inspira Medical Center Mullica Hill by the artist Peter Galetto, Jr., and his wife Jane, the glass sculpture — titled “Carnivale Grande” — is a dedication to the work of the hospital’s healthcare workers. It was dedicated to the hospital on Oct. 2.
“It’s really exceptional to see it,” said Amy Mansue, the hospital’s president and CEO. “It takes your breath away when you see it.”
Galetto, a Millville-based glass blower, said he hired a welder to help with the sculpture, since the tree’s center and branches are stainless steel. The entire sculpture took 550 hours to create, with each one of the 200 individual pieces taking more than an hour to make.
But Galetto emphasized he didn’t work on the sculpture alone — he estimated he spent roughly 300 hours on the project himself.
He started the tree — named for Italian and Brazilian festivals — in December and had much of the glass blown before the coronavirus pandemic, but utilized a crew of volunteers and paid workers to help him throughout the project.
“When I make glass, I make it with a team,” Galetto told NJ Advance Media. “I orchestrated all (the work) and lay out my plan and get others to help.”
The sculpture was assembled on the hospital’s lawn by the Galetto’s and a group of volunteers over two days in mid-June.
Creating and donating entire glass sculptures isn’t new for Galetto, as he said he typically blows glass and gives it to friends and charities for fundraisers.
And when the hospital opened in December 2019, officials dedicated another glass sculpture created by Galetto.
Designed as a 16-foot long boat, titled “Journey to a Better Life” and hanging from the ceiling in the hospital’s lobby, the sculpture is fashioned in the same colorful, playful style of the tree structure outside.
“Patients stop me, talking about how comforting it is when they walk in the door,” Mansue said. “It really is that inspiration you want to have as a patient.”
She expressed her gratefulness to Galetto and his wife for their donation of the sculptures, along with the community members who helped volunteer their time for the projects.
Galetto said he appreciated the tree sculpture’s ability to appear differently, depending on the time of day, since it’s outdoors.
“It has one appearance during the day, then (another) during the night when the lights come on,” he said. “That’s the beauty of glass — it transmits light.”
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