The Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University recently completed a preservation needs assessment of the University’s permanent collection through a Small Institution Preservation Assistance Grant from the Division of preservation and access of the National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH).
The grant, awarded in August 2020, funded the evaluation of policies for collection, construction and maintenance, environment, security, disaster preparedness, maintenance of collections and preservation planning. A 90-page final report was completed in June 2021.
“Working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, with the exhibition galleries closed to the public, actually increased the time we could spend examining all aspects of the permanent collection at St. .Lawrence – something that hasn’t been done in such a comprehensive fashion since the early 1990s, ”said Catherine Tedford, director of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery. “Going forward, the final Preservation Needs Assessment Report provides clear recommendations and short- and long-term goals to protect the collection and to ensure that it and related educational programs meet academic needs. and cultural aspects of the university community and of the north of the country at large. beyond.”
Saint-Laurent’s history of collecting art and cultural artefacts dates back to the early 1900s. The gallery’s permanent collection, which is one of the largest of its kind in northern New York State now includes more than 7,000 objects in genres ranging from performance and documentary to abstract expressionism, pop, character design and more. The majority of the collection dates from the mid-20th century to the present day and includes paintings, prints, photographs, portfolios, artists’ books, sculptures, ceramics and ethnographic objects. The collection supports research in many subjects in the humanities, including identity politics, belief systems, perceptions of the natural world, diversity and multiculturalism, history and politics, health and healing, and l creative expression.
The assessment was conducted virtually during a series of Zoom meetings chaired by Anastasia Matijkiw, Program Manager and Preservation Specialist at the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia, PA, with input from several staff. from the University, including Tedford, Deputy Gallery Director Carole Mathey, University Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Karl Schonberg, and staff from the Facilities Operations and Safety and Security Departments . Caroline Welsh, regional art historian, attended as a conservation advisor.
For more information on the University’s permanent collection, visit the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery website.