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Mellon Foundation Grant Funds Collaborative Project

Mellon Foundation Grant Funds Collaborative Project

Posted: January 27, 2016

Buffalo State College has received a $46,500 planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Art Conservation Department’s endeavors in library and archives conservation education.

The one-year grant will fund the development and coordination of a five-year plan for a cooperative project with two other art conservation graduate programs in the United States— the Conservation Center at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. The grant will cover a survey of library and archives institutions, student travel between the institutions, and development of online courses.  

The planning grant is one of two competitive awards that the foundation made in December. The results of these awards will help the foundation determine whether and how it would provide further funding for graduate education in library and archives conservation.

“This consortium marks a new era in collaboration between the three art conservation graduate programs,” said Patrick Ravines, associate professor and director of art conservation.

The goal of the project is to identify and eliminate cross-institutional redundancies and develop and prioritize programmatic components that can be easily and cost-effectively shared.

“In the past, the Mellon Foundation has provided funding to all three conservations programs specifically for library and archives conservation education,” said Ravines. “We believed if we could coordinate certain aspects of our programs, it would be less costly and more sustainable.”

Conservation, by its nature, is a highly collaborative discipline, Ravines said. 

“The three conservation programs share a belief that the guiding principles of conservation education reside in broad-based, cross-disciplinary preparation that provides the intellectual and practical skill set necessary to prepare a professional to enter today’s conservation practice and to lead the field’s continued evolution,” he said. “In contrast to many disciplines that tend toward specialization, we require each student to become conversant with all branches of conservation practice and study before they become proficient at their own specialization.”

The New York-based Mellon Foundation has awarded Buffalo State’s Art Conservation Department several grants over the past three decades, most recently a $1.25 million challenge grant.

“We could not be where we are today—a selective program offering rigorous education and training for future conservators of our collective cultural heritage—without the generous assistance of the Mellon Foundation,” said Ravines. “We are excited about the current grant that will enable us to coordinate and fine-tune the library and archives conservation education program among our three institutions.”

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 competitive program trains conservators of fine art and material cultural heritage. Program 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, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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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