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Mellon Grant to Fund Art Conservation Fellowships

Posted: August 3, 2016

Buffalo State recently received a $139,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Art Conservation Department’s endeavors in Library and Archives Conservation Education (LACE). The grant will provide fellowships to two graduate students who are starting their program this fall. 

Begun in 2011, the LACE specialization falls within the department’s paper conservation curriculum. Graduates land positions with archives, historical societies, and libraries around the world where they conserve rare books, manuscripts, maps, historical documents, photographs, and archival materials.

“We believe that including the library and archives conservation specialization within the art conservation program marks a critical paradigm shift in the education of library and archives conservators,” said Patrick Ravines, associate professor and director of art conservation at Buffalo State. “It also signals a step in the maturation of the cultural heritage conservation field.”

Out of a pool of 75 applicants this year, the art conservation faculty chose a total of 10 students who will begin the three-year art conservation program in fall 2016.

“Several candidates indicated an interest in library and archives conservation, and I believe this is a good sign,” Ravines said. “It’s through the encouragement and support of the Andrew Mellon Foundation that we have been able to attract a steady stream of applicants keenly interested in library and archive conservation and provide them with a sound education and training in this field.”

The New York-based Mellon Foundation has awarded several grants to the art conservation program over the past three decades, including a $1.25 million challenge grant in 2014.

“The Mellon Foundation’s generosity has contributed to Buffalo State’s Art Conservation Department being the gem that it is,” said Susanne Bair, vice president for institutional advancement. “The foundation leaders understand the crucial contributions that art conservators make to society and the importance of supporting their training.”

Since the start of the LACE program, the Art Conservation Department has undergone a major physical transformation. It now occupies three floors in the north wing of Rockwell Hall. The third-floor space includes a new center for paper conservation that houses separate book conservation and photograph conservation studios.

Additionally, the foundation has enabled LACE students to participate in summer internship experiences and intersession (January-term) seminars, an essential complement to their coursework.

“The Mellon Foundation provides integral support for students every step of the way—from their first art conservation course to the third-year internship that is the culminating step in the LACE program,” Ravines said. “We are profoundly grateful to the foundation for its ongoing assistance.”

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.

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