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The Conclave's history is richer than you think

by George Boria - Copy Editor
Wed, May 3rd 2017 02:05 pm
File Photo 

Brockport's Monument  The steel statue  `Conclave` (above) was installed on The College at Brockport campus in 2014 outside of Dailey Hall. It was donated to the college by Brockport Professor Emeritus of Political Science William `Bill` Andrews.
File Photo Brockport's Monument The steel statue "Conclave" (above) was installed on The College at Brockport campus in 2014 outside of Dailey Hall. It was donated to the college by Brockport Professor Emeritus of Political Science William "Bill" Andrews.

The College at Brockport is home to many different artistic pieces and artistic expressions. There are the benches in the Liberal Arts Building, the stairwells in Tower Fine Arts, the more recently purchased and utterly ridiculous squirrel statue on the outside of the Seymour College Union and many other little treasures scattered around the campus. Yet, there's nothing quite as emblematic as the big, red, anthropomorphic penis statue in the middle of the the campus. 

"Conclave" by Albert Paley is one of the many pieces of artwork that call Brockport home but it is perhaps the most eye catching and recognizable pieces of them all and it's not just me. Don't consider the penis association just an insight of immaturity though. The word conclave by definition is a private meeting. So while it may not be a literal penis it certainly is symbolic of something more erotic than a failed ring toss. 

In a blog on theodysseyonline.com by one of Brockport's own students, Leigha Decker, titled "21 Reasons to Love Brockport", Decker ranks the statue at No. 7, higher than Trax, Jitterbugs and the recently closed Burrito Fresco.

"Conclave" isn't just some representative penis statue- it's an artist's work, his baby and it has a story. According to the artist's website, albertpaley.com, when Paley made "Conclave" back in 1984 it was colored persimmon, not the now recognizable crimson color. 

The forged steel statue may not be Paley's best work but it is certainly one of his earliest. Brockport Professor Emeritus of Political Science William "Bill" Andrews is the man who pushed the campus to erect the 30 foot statue back in 2014. 

"When I learned about the sculpture that was lying in the field over by Redman road, I thought it was a shame that the college didn't do something with it," Andrews said in a recorded interview on YouTube. 

The statue was installed August 7, 2014, as announced by "College at Brockport" on Twitter. The statue's previous home, 15 years earlier, was outside Rochester's Harro East Theater and Ballroom on Chestnut Street as mentioned in an archived post on brockport.edu. According to the artist's website it was a part of an urban restoration project before it was removed and donated to the college. 

The statue was installed with the assistance of Jeffrey Jubenville, then Studio Foreman for Paley Studios. 

"It's the first time we've taken a big piece that he did a long time ago, 30 years ago and redid it," Jubenville said in the aforementioned YouTube video. "So it's, you know, you like to come up with different ways of solving problems and this is a new one for us."

The hard work was appreciated. Nearly three full years after its final installation outside of Dailey and Hazen Hall, "Conclave" has become one of Brockport's most recognizable features. Anyone who takes a walk through the heart of campus will see this huge, long, hard, erected steel sculpture. It's hard to miss something that big. 

gbori1@brockport.edu

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