Healing Place Raises Sculpture In “Healing Space”

Healing Place Raises Sculpture In “Healing Space”

Hopes in Wake County have been raised by the promise of the Healing Place and now a literal raising has taken place. At 11:30am on Wednesday, December 13, artist Thomas Sayre raised the second of a set of sculptures he created for the courtyard of the facility.

A crowd of community members, Healing Place staff members, Board members and Advisory Board members gathered to see the sculpture put in place. Major and Mrs. Fred Musgrave provided music with the Salvation Army Band Quartet. After a brief introduction and music by the band, the group went outside in the brisk winter air to watch the raising of the second sculpture.


HP Board President Fred Barber said, “Some of us believe miracles are going to take place in this building.”

Thomas Sayre created a sculpture with a symbolic barrier.

Sayre, who created such local wonders as “Gyre” the three concrete rings on the back lawn of the North Carolina Museum of Art and the iron entrance gate and marble wall at the Exploris museum in downtown Raleigh, wanted to develop a piece on which the men in recovery at the Healing Place could reflect and meditate. Sayre has pieces around the world and has worked on a myriad of projects.

He used a technique called “earth casting.” This involves digging a trench in ground and filling it with concrete and steel supports, and then pulling the final product out of ground. Sayre thought the method appropriate for this project because he said it is a “Balance between person built [human intention]…and what nature does.”

The two pieces are 17-18 feet tall and combined weigh over 30,000 lbs. Entitled “Door” and “Doorway,” the sculptures represent the barriers the

Healing Place program participants will face and door removed through which they will eventually pass. Ultimately, Sayre said, he hopes “real meaning will be discovered by the men who come here.” Eventually a series of walkways and a garden, both maintained by the men who live at the Healing Place, and a community gathering area will symbolically join the two structures.


The Salvation Army Band Quartet created a festive atmosphere with holiday music.

The Healing Place originally was going to leave the courtyard blank to cut back on expenses and stay within budget, but Carol Bilbro stepped in and headed a committee to do something with the area now known as the Healing Space. An anonymous donor gave the funding; Sayre donated his time and vision for the creative process itself. Carolina Crane, under CEO Earl Johnson, donated the use of a crane and its operator.

The event also celebrated the opening of the Healing Place; the first wing of the facility will begin operation on January 15, 2001. Based on a model in Louisville, Kentucky, the Healing Place will provide shelter, recovery, detoxification and support service to enable homeless men to overcome substance-abuse problems and regain control of their lives.

An open house is slated for April 18, 2001, after all facets of the program are in full operation and staffed by program participants.

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