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Congressman Brian Higgins Announces $350,000 for Buffalo State College Art Conservation Program


Congressman Brian Higgins, ’85, U.S. representative for New York’s 26th congressional district, has announced that Buffalo State’s Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department will receive a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for preservation education and training. The three-year grant extends from 2020 to 2022.

The Garman Art Conservation Department will use the grant to support students studying the conservation of art and cultural heritage in the prestigious graduate program. The SUNY Research Foundation at Buffalo State accepted the award on behalf of the department.

“This federal award recognizes nationally the quality of Buffalo State College’s program and the ability of the Garman Art Conservation Department to produce the next generation of experts in the fields of historic preservation,” Higgins said.

“Our Art Conservation Department has had the incredible fortune of receiving 13 NEH grants over the past three decades in which graduate student fellowship support was either the sole or main purpose of the grant,” said Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner. “The fact that the department was awarded the full amount that it requested this year speaks volumes about the caliber of the faculty, the program, and its graduates. This grant is welcome news as the department kicks off its 50th-year celebration this year.”

NEH Chairman Jon Parrish Peede noted that NEH grants are highly competitive and involve a rigorous peer-review process to ensure that the projects represent the highest level of humanities quality and public engagement.

“The education of conservators is an essential component of all preservation efforts, and the Garman Art Conservation Department is fully committed to this goal,” said Patrick Ravines, associate professor and art conservation program director. “Our mission is and always has been to educate future generations of conservators to carry on with the noble goal of preserving the wide range of objects that comprise the nation’s cultural heritage, historical documents, works of art and craft, decorative collections, functional historical objects, and archaeological materials, and to continue to provide access to these collections.”

Ravines expressed his extreme gratitude to the NEH for awarding the grant. “The NEH support for graduate student fellowships is necessary in order to recruit the exceptional students who go on to thrive in careers at institutions such as the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institute museums, the National Gallery of Art, and the Getty Conservation Center,” he said, adding the work they perform is greatly needed.

As the program celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, it boasts 460 alumni in the field. That number, Ravines pointed out, pales in comparison to the millions of historic and artistic works that require attention.

“There are always more objects that require conservation treatment than there are professional conservators,” Ravines said. “There is a critical and constant need for graduate conservation education so more conservators can join the field and continue this important work.”

The NEH is announcing all new grant offers on its website.