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5. General Session [clear filter]
Friday, June 1


(Long-Form Concurrent Session) Arts Recovery After Hurricane Harvey
Harvey Arts Recovery Fund (HARF) is a first-of-its-kind initiative dedicated to supporting the creative community in the aftermath of a natural disaster. HARF was created as a volunteer collaboration among multiple organizations to meet the substantial needs of the Houston arts and cultural sector during Hurricane Harvey. As such, HARF is emerging as a national model for community-based disaster recovery in the arts.   
A collaborative effort of Houston’s art and culture services sector, HARF is focused on supporting small and mid-sized arts, culture, and history non-profit organizations as well as individual artists, musicians, performers, writers, heritage preservationists, and other cultural producers whose ability to support themselves was derailed following Hurricane Harvey.  In these communities, relief can be as simple as a new theater wardrobe and as critical as replacing revenue lost from cancelled performances. HARF funds provide recovery support across the 10-county Greater Houston region including Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Brazoria, Galveston, Liberty, Waller, Chambers, Austin, and San Jacinto counties.
HARF is an example of cooperative and collective leadership, which was provided by Galveston Historical Foundation, Fresh Arts, Dance Source Houston, CultureWorks Greater Houston, The Center for Arts and Social Engagement at the University of Houston, Houston Arts Alliance and the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Houston, with funding support from Houston Endowment.

avatar for John Abodeely

John Abodeely

Chief Executive Officer, Houston Arts Alliance (HAA)
John Abodeely is Chief Executive Officer of Houston Arts Alliance (HAA). Joining HAA in November of 2017, he brings a strong background in arts and arts education policy as the Acting Executive Director of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, service as Manager... Read More →
avatar for Marci Regan Dallas

Marci Regan Dallas

executive director, Fresh Arts
Marci Regan Dallas is executive director of Fresh Arts, a service organization that nurtures a local arts ecosystem designed to position artists and creative entrepreneurs for success. Dallas holds an MA in Art History and an MBA. She is a graduate of Christie's Art and Business... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 2:00pm - 2:30pm
Hunters Creek Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Long-Form Concurrent Session) Materiality: A Series of Questions
Our recent retirement from actively treating paintings has given us the time to reflect on several aspects of this year’s topic of materials and materiality. These thoughts coalesced into a list of questions about subtopics within the general category of materiality, and some tentative answers to those questions. Both questions and answers address the many changes that we have seen during our more than thirty-five years as conservators, and – more importantly – how we might work to shape future developments in our field.

Questions include:

  • Do we know as much as we think we do about artists’ materials? Our experience as researchers on painting materials tells us: probably not. Many examples bolster this point, from obvious gaps in specific knowledge about the materials used by many artists at many different periods, to the imprecise names of artists’ materials, to how the aging of specific materials sometimes contradicts longstanding perceived wisdom.
  • Can we balance our concern for original materials with other concerns – above all, the aesthetic impact of a work of art? Great progress has been made in the last thirty-five years, but much remains to be discussed in terms of the relative importance of the backs and fronts of paintings, preserving or removing “original” varnishes, and “what would the artist think?” as a valid ingredient in our discussions.
  • Are we communicating with curators and academic art historians about art materials as well as we could? There are many signs of improvement, including summer seminars in technical art history, increasing numbers of art history students who have been taught to care about materials, and literature that takes as its starting point a specific material or color. Curators have always been happy when conservators can provide material evidence that proves authorship or demonstrates a connection between two work of art, but we also see curators beginning to welcome discussions about how a painting’s materials can influence its appearance in more subjective ways, such as understanding a painting’s yellowish color when an artist used too much medium or when a painting cannot be cleaned. Here, too, there is clearly much room for further improvement. Examples include a major misunderstanding on the part of a curator about whether a conservator can tell the difference between a 150-year-old and a 500-year-old painting by studying the painting’s materials. Other occasions of miscommunication concerned problems that a curator believed to be physical faults, but which were actually caused by reflections due to imperfect lighting. Conservators’ concerns with materiality make us particularly sensitive to how uneven lighting, reflections, and shadows of frames can have a more profound effect on a viewer’s experience than many curators or lighting designers appreciate.
  • Our final question is an awkward one: Do conservators sometimes dodge tough questions about the ageing of materials? Unfortunately, in some recent cases we think that the answer to this is “yes.” 

avatar for Lance Mayer

Lance Mayer

Conservator, Private Practice
Lance Mayer and Gay Myers have recently retired from careers as independent paintings conservators for many large and small museums and private collectors. They have treated such paintings as Rembrandt Peale’s The Court of Death at the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Raising of Lazarus... Read More →
avatar for Gay Myers

Gay Myers

Conservator, Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Lance Mayer and Gay Myers have recently retired from careers as independent paintings conservators for many large and small museums and private collectors. They have treated such paintings as Rembrandt Peale’s The Court of Death at the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Raising of Lazarus... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Hunters Creek Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston


(Long-Form Concurrent Session) Lessons from Irma and Harvey: Preparation and Response in the 2017 Hurricane Season
The Fall of 2017 was one of the most active and dangerous seasons in U.S. Hurricane history. As of this writing, two of the nation's largest cities and most populous states have been affected by storms of record-breaking size and wind strength. This panel brings together conservators from Houston, Texas and Miami, Florida to discuss some of the solutions adopted by institutions, collections, and private conservation studios to prepare for hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We will discuss what worked and what did not, what lessons were learned, and how conservators can respond to incorrect advice that is provided by non-conservators and disseminated widely in media reports. As of this date the panel will consist of: Rosa Lowinger (Moderator) Principal and Chief Conservator, RLA Conservation, Inc. Miami and Los Angeles. Steve Pine (Presenter) Senior Conservator for Decorative Arts, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Rustin Levenson (Presenter) President and Chief Conservator, ArtCare, Inc. Miami, New York, Los Angeles Lauren Hall (Presenter) Conservator, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens One more participant from Houston or another Gulf Coast locale

avatar for Kelly Ciociola-[PA]

Kelly Ciociola-[PA]

Senior Conservator, RLA Conservation
Kelly Ciociola holds a 2010 Masters in Historic Preservation with a concentration in materials conservation from the joint program of Clemson University and College of Charleston . A Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, she presently serves as Senior... Read More →

avatar for Lauren R. Hall-[PA]

Lauren R. Hall-[PA]

Conservator, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Lauren Reynolds Hall is the conservator at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida, where she oversees the preservation of a diverse collection of historic structures, decorative art objects, and outdoor sculpture. She holds a Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the... Read More →
avatar for Rustin Levenson-[Fellow]

Rustin Levenson-[Fellow]

President and Founder, ArtCare Conservation, A Rustin Levenson Company
B.A. Wellesley College; Diploma in Paintings Conservation, Fogg Art Museum, and Harvard University. Conservation staff of the Fogg Museum (1969-1973), the Canadian Conservation Institute (1973-1974); The National Gallery of Canada (1974-1977); and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1977-1980... Read More →

avatar for Steven Pine-[PA]

Steven Pine-[PA]

Senior Decorative Arts Conservator, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Steven Pine is Senior Decorative Arts Conservator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is a former co-chair of the AIC Emergency Committee and is active in Alliance for Response networks in Texas and New York. He has assisted in recovery assessments and clean up of public and private... Read More →

Friday June 1, 2018 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Hunters Creek Meeting Room Marriott Marquis Houston