Every so often Buffalo State’s Garman Art Conservation Department opens its doors to the curious public, so that they can learn firsthand about the fascinating work that is underway. There is also an even more engaging experience that sees participants sharing artifacts with the department, for possible conservation work.
This is done via an interactive process that involves participants from the public bringing in artifacts such as paintings, ceramics, historical documents, photographs, and sculptures, so that the students and members of the art conservation faculty can analyze and evaluate the objects. If an object suits the proper criteria, there is a chance that a member of the department will accept the role as caretaker for the piece as a conservation measure. This process could take one or two years to complete.
The Art Conservation Department has offered the conservation clinic to private collectors and institutions in Western New York since the program moved to Buffalo State from Cooperstown, New York, in 1987. It has remained a popular service that benefits all parties.
“The clinic is a very important event for our department,” said associate professor and director Patrick Ravines. “The conservation treatments that we accept provide the raw materials for teaching and real-life projects for our graduate students.”
In the past, attendees have brought in myriad significant art objects, never knowing if the pieces will be taken under the watchful eye of the department, to be treated and restored.
“Basically, the pieces have to meet the art conservation criteria — not too easy and not too complicated,” Ravines said. “One student is assigned to each piece under the supervision of a faculty member to work on over the next year or more.”
This clinic is a win-win for the students, and the owners of the sacred objects.
“It provides students with tremendous work experience maintaining the cultural heritage of a community,” Ravines said. “And members of the public have access to quality conservation treatments for a reasonable cost.”
Buffalo State’s Garman Art Conservation Department will open its doors to the community during the annual Art Conservation Clinic held on Friday, September 29, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the north wing of Rockwell Hall. This reservation-only event has been full for weeks and speaks to the much-desired service that the graduate art conservation program provides to the community.
The public has another chance to visit the Art Conservation Department during an Open House on Friday, October 27, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The open house gives visitors a peek into the world of art and cultural heritage conservation. All are welcome to come and see what the students and faculty have been conserving this past year and take a tour of the studios and labs.
Both sessions will feature the same presentations. No reservations are required. For more information, call (716) 878-5025.