- Associated Press - Sunday, November 12, 2017

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) - Flashes, like tiny bolts of lightning, lit up the shop at Galbreath Industrial Services when owner Jim Galbreath was working on a sculpture recently.

In the center of the shop’s floor, the outer structure of the sculpture sits on its 4-foot-square base. Galbreath has welded together two circular bands of carbon steel, each an inch thick, and a few curved beams of the same metal into what looks like the beginnings of a globe.

On a table nearby, dozens of brass lumps were arranged on top of another plate of steel. The lumps look like blocks with irregular shapes gouged out of them. Most would fit in your hand - and if you have kept up on your dumbbell exercises, you could lift one. They weigh several pounds apiece.

They’ll soon be mounted to four steel semicircles and welded onto a beam crossing the center of the globe structure as Galbreath continues shaping the sculpture for the new cancer care center at Logansport Memorial Hospital.

Galbreath was commissioned to make the sculpture in celebration of the hospital’s biggest construction project in many years. It’s his third commissioned work - he’s known for having created the statue “The Dancers” on Market Street between Third and Fourth streets, and was also asked to fabricate the bicycle-shaped but functional bike racks stationed around Logansport.

After discussions with hospital representatives and others, Galbreath arrived at the concept for his latest piece, which he says he hasn’t quite settled on a name for. Its overall shape echoes that of the traditional depiction of the atom, representing the scientific research involved in cancer treatment.

While in his Erie Avenue shop on Nov. 3, Galbreath recalled losing his father, Richard, to cancer seven years ago. “One of my sons was just born, and he hung on long enough to see him,” Galbreath said.

His father had received both radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Galbreath said. His sculpture represents the ways such treatments have changed over time.

“I know they’ve made a lot of advances since then. This is one of them,” Galreath said, referring to the brass pieces.

Those pieces, called compensators, were previously used in radiation treatments. Each cancer patient required a unique compensator designed for them - it shields the body while a device called a linear accelerator aims a photon beam toward the patient’s cancer cells.

As part of Logansport Memorial Hospital’s $7.4 million project to upgrade its cancer treatment and obstetric facilities, the hospital is upgrading its linear accelerator and the new one is designed so as not to need compensators, according to hospital project information.

The compensators Galbreath is working with are no longer needed by the patients they were designed for and were stripped of any identifying marks. Once the new linear accelerator goes online, the compensator technology itself will become obsolete, too.

“Every piece is different, every piece is unique - just like the individual it was made for,” Galbreath said. “I often think about, were the treatments successful? Where are they today?”

So far, the piece weighs only about 800 pounds with just the steel globe structure, he said. Next, he’ll spray it with a solution that will accelerate the rusting process. “As it dries, you can see the rust forming on it,” Galbreath said. He’s used that method on another sculpture, “Meteor,” a smaller version of which is currently on display in a Fort Wayne-area art museum.

He has also been laying out the brass compensators in what he described as “a jigsaw puzzle,” after which he’ll bolt them down to the plate of steel they’re sitting on.

Then that plate and three others just like it will be cut into a semicircle with a water jet, which uses a pressure of tens of thousands of pounds per square inch, water and sand to cut, well, “anything,” Galbreath said, including steel and brass upwards of 3 inches thick.

Once the steel and brass are cut together, he’ll remove the brass pieces in order to polish the steel and weld it in place. The brass pieces will go back on after that, suspended in the center of the globe frame. All told, he estimates the finished sculpture will weigh about 3,000 pounds.

“The inside will be nice and shiny and the outside will be rusted,” Galbreath said, a contrast highlighting the continuing transition from old medical treatments to new ones.

Once it’s complete, it’ll be installed in the center of the existing lobby at Medical Office Building East on the Logansport Memorial Hospital campus on Michigan Avenue.

Vicki Byrd, vice president for planning and development at the hospital, said she was pleased the hospital was able to support the area’s artistic community, since area residents and organizations have supported the hospital’s endeavors, as well.

“I think it’s going to have a lot of meaning for a lot of people,” Byrd said of the sculpture. She added she hopes people will be moved by the significance the hospital and Galbreath find in it as well as by the meaning they attach to it personally.

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Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com

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