Art Conservation Program Awarded $1.65 Million Mellon Foundation Grant

Posted: April 7, 2006
Buffalo State College’s prestigious Art Conservation Department – one of only three such accredited degree-granting graduate programs in the nation – has received $1.65 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of its conservation science initiative.

$1.5 million of the funding from the four-year grant will be used to establish a $2.5 million endowment to create an Andrew W. Mellon Professorship in Conservation Science, to be held by an established scientist with research and teaching experience in art conservation or an allied field. The Buffalo State College Foundation will work with the Art Conservation Department to complete the endowment.

“The Mellon Foundation has been exceptional in its support of our art conservation program, which is recognized as one of the most prestigious programs in the nation. This award provides us yet another opportunity to advance it even further,” said Dr. Muriel A. Howard, president of Buffalo State College.

“The generosity of the Mellon Foundation will allow us to continue the appointment of conservation scientist Dr. Gregory Dale Smith, who is currently funded by a Mellon Foundation grant. When the grant expires, Dr. Smith will move to the endowed chair position,” said Dr. Elizabeth Pe?a, director of the Art Conservation Department.

The additional $150,000 in grant money will be used to upgrade and purchase essential scientific equipment to meet the department’s growing educational and research needs, Pe?a noted, adding, “The award reflects the Mellon Foundation’s recognition of the importance of continuing advances of science in conservation to the efforts of conservators in providing optimum care for the nation’s art and historic objects.

“All of us in the Art Conservation Department are extremely grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and to our program officer, Angelica Zander Rudenstine, for her support and tireless efforts on our behalf,” Pe?a said.

Buffalo State’s Art Conservation Department’s graduate program, which opened in 1970, is one of four degree-granting art conservation programs in North America. During their program years, students first study the traditional areas of objects, paper and paintings conservation. They later either specialize in one of the three areas or in a more recently established one such as photograph, book or ethnographic and archeological material conservation. Their program years conclude with a final 12-month internship in their chosen specialty.

The majority of the department’s 300 graduates are employed in museum conservation laboratories in this country and abroad, many of them holding senior posts. Employers include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the National Gallery of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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