The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

School of Visual Arts Undergraduate Commissioned to Create Sculpture for Tyrone Hospital


Many professional artists dream of the opportunity to create a commissioned work of art for permanent public display. For Olivia Calef, that opportunity came before she even graduated from Penn State.

Calef, a bachelor of fine arts candidate in sculpture who will graduate this May, was commissioned to create a bronze sculpture for Tyrone Hospital’s Breast Cancer and Women’s Health Institute. The piece, titled “Empowered,” will be unveiled at the institute’s first Women’s Healthy Living Expo on Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

Dr. David Arbutina, Tyrone Hospital surgeon and medical director of the Breast Cancer and Women’s Health Institute, knew Calef and, after learning she was studying sculpture, asked if she could create a piece for the institute.

“I feel honored to be given this opportunity to create a permanent piece for the Breast Cancer and Women’s Health Institute. Since the sculpture focuses on the empowerment of women fighting breast cancer, the process allowed me to reflect upon art as a means of hope and celebration, but also led me to question the motives behind works of art,” she explains. “The opportunity not only served as motivation for me to keep pursuing my artistic career, but also allowed me to utilize my resources and skills in a process that I found to be especially rewarding.”

Cristin Millet, associate professor of art, advised Calef during the year-long process to create the sculpture. "It's quite an honor for a student to be commissioned to create a work of prominence that will be permanently displayed," she says. "Her selection speaks to the quality of her work and the confidence people have in her abilities."

Calef plans to spend the fall 2014 semester pursuing post-graduate studies in sculpture at Penn State, and then apply for jobs in the Philadelphia area.

Photo above shows the sculpture in progress.

Text courtesy of Amy Milgrub Marshall