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Challenge Grant Provides New Technology for Art Conservation

Challenge Grant Provides New Technology for Art Conservation

Posted: April 5, 2012

Through a $100,000 challenge grant from an anonymous foundation, Buffalo State’s Art Conservation Department will purchase a $175,000 NanoFocus confocal microscope (pictured) this spring, making Buffalo State a pioneer in using this type of technology.

“Our department is the first in the art conservation programs and cultural heritage institutions in the United States and Canada to have this,” said Patrick Ravines, associate professor and director of the Art Conservation Department. “This system will allow us to use surface metrology principles and practices in the field of art conservation, technical art history, and cultural heritage.”

Ever since she learned about the Art Conservation program, which is one of only four graduate programs like it in the country, retired financial adviser and arts supporter Mary Ann Yadon, said she has raved about it to her friends and acquaintances.

“It’s amazing to me that this program is not better known in Western New York,” Yadon said. “Right here at Buffalo State there is a program with wonderful credentials and mission. It needs sophisticated equipment to carry that mission on.”

The new instrument will allow faculty and students to study and characterize the topography of all types of surfaces on paintings, photographs, decorative arts, sculptures, and other art and historic works with extreme precision. Having such an instrument available to students at Buffalo State is important because surface studies in art and archaeology is an emerging area, Ravines said.

Accepting only 10 students a year, the art conservation graduate program trains conservators of fine art and material cultural heritage. Graduates can be found in the conservation labs of major institutions across the United States, including the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; and the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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