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Art Conservation Receives $2.1 Million Mellon Grant

Posted: November 2, 2017

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $2.1 million to SUNY Buffalo State to support the Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department and the two other U.S. art conservation graduate programs—the Conservation Center at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (NYU), and the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. The award is intended to further a collaborative project in the area of library and archives conservation education (LACE).

It follows a 2016 planning grant from the foundation to fund a five-year institutional collaboration among the three art conservation programs. This is an eight-year grant that will go toward student fellowships and guest lecturers who are LACE specialists, as well as cover travel among the institutions. 

Buffalo State has taught book and paper conservation for the past three decades. Begun in 2011, the LACE specialization falls within the department’s works-on-paper conservation curriculum. Students in the specialization are educated and trained for positions with archives, historical societies, and libraries to conserve rare books, manuscripts, maps, historical documents, photographs, and archival materials.

“We are extremely grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their support of this consortium,” said Patrick Ravines, director of the Garman Art Conservation Department. “I am deeply honored by the foundation’s ongoing trust in our commitment to educate the next generation of conservators. Even as our society grows more digitized, we need to find effective ways to conserve the tangible books, maps, documents, and photographs that comprise our collective history and cultural heritage.”

The Research Foundation for SUNY accepted the award on behalf of the Garman Art Conservation Department; the foundation will disseminate funds to the other institutions.

“On behalf of the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, I wish to express my excitement in the official formation of the LACE consortium,” said Margaret Holben Ellis, chair and Eugene Thaw professor of paper conservation, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. “We have successfully partnered in this endeavor for many years and are heartened by the Mellon Foundation’s endorsement of our efforts.”

“Our LACE curriculum will be intentional, strategic, and collaborative. Working with exceptional colleagues at Buffalo State College and New York University, we will be build a strong cohort of emerging conservators prepared to better address the demanding preservation challenges facing libraries and archives worldwide,” said Debra Hess Norris, chair and professor of art conservation and director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. “I am grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their inspired investment in this initiative.”

This award follows numerous other awards to Buffalo State from the New York-based foundation that have enabled the art conservation program to remain a leader in the field of conservation of fine art, cultural heritage, and historic works.

Founded in 1970, Buffalo State’s Art Conservation Department is one of the leading graduate programs of its kind in North America. Accepting only 10 students a year, the distinguished program trains conservators of fine art and material cultural heritage. Art conservation alumni can be found in the conservation labs of major institutions across the United States, including the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Rockwell Hall 230 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-5025 •  Fax: (716) 878-5039