Construction of new Massachusetts Psychiatric Hospital in Worcester goes forward in the snow. The 1877 version of Worcester State Hospital featured a large chapel in the central administration building situation just behind the clocktower which still stands. The chapel and its artwork were destroyed in the fire of 1991. This central meeting place was used not only for religious services, but for various events such as dances which admitted patients of both sexes.
Many photographs of the chapel still exist and some are available in the Worcester Historical Museum. The most prominent piece of art in the old chapel was a painting of St. Peter being loosed from his chains by an angel. The angel was the central feature of the painting but the chains were clearly visible. Perhaps this was seen as an allegory by the patients. Perhaps they felt that they would be loosed from the chains made necessary by their illness by divine intervention and this may have inspired many patient prayers. The new chapel will feature stained glass and one suggestion has been made that the glass in the new building carry forward the themes of: unfettered, free movement; outdoors; sunshine; divine intervention; and, especially, hope all derived from the old painting.
The glass artist for the new hospital is Architectural Glass Art Inc. whose portfolio can be seen at http://againc.com/.