Profile: “Portal” Sculpture

A small model (scale unknown) of the sculpture "Portal."

Whether you’re new to the Bentley campus or not, you may have found yourself wondering about the large granite sculpture on the lawn between the LaCava Center and Morison Hall. As it turns out this sculpture, and the artist who produced it, help connect Bentley to the vibrant arts culture of New England.

The sculpture itself is titled “Portal,” and was created by the artist Carlos Dorrien in 1980. Dorrien is a noted American sculptor and has been an arts faculty member at Wellesley College since the 1980s.

“Portal” was built on the Bentley campus as part of an artist residency funded through a federal granting program called CETA. The CETA Artists Project allowed over 10,000 artists nationwide to work with institutions by creating public art, delivering lectures and workshops, consulting on design, and more.

It took Dorrien over 18 months to complete “Portal.” In an article from the Bentley student newspaper, Dorrien explains that the shape of the piece was designed to mimic the architectural features on campus, particularly the arches that once framed the main entrance of the library.

Each piece of Laurentian granite in the sculpture weighs 8 tons! To accommodate this weight and to ensure the sculpture would not sink or shift, concrete foundation was added before installation.

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If you’re intrigued by “Portal,” and would like to see more of Carlos Dorrien’s work, you’re in luck! Many of his sculptures can be viewed across Massachusetts and other parts of New England.

  • If you take the Bentley Shuttle to Harvard Square, walk through the tiny Winthrop Park to see “Quiet Cornerstone.”
  • Just one stop up on the Red Line in Cambridge, you can view “Ontas,” a relief sculpture in the Porter Square MBTA station.
  • Also along the Red Line – “The Alewife Gateway” near the bike path at Alewife Station.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts:

  • Pick up a discounted museum pass at the Bentley Library and visit the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA to see “Little Red Riding Hood and Other Stories.”
  • Take a tour of South Boston and see two Dorrien sculptures! “The Gateway” can be viewed in the South Boston Maritime Park near the Seaport World Trade Center. Slightly further south, “Archival Stone” can be viewed in the courtyard of the Massachusetts State Archives.
  • Take a mini-road trip to historic Lowell to see “Human Construction.”

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