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Reports submitted to the Getty Foundation by recipients of conservation grants, 1986-2011

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Getty Foundation, reports submitted by recipients of conservation grants

Administrative History

Prior to the formation of the Getty Foundation, the professional staff of the Trust designed programs, encouraged and assessed proposals, and sought to discover opportunities of exceptional promise that could advance a field or strengthen an institution. Applications for funds from outside parties were evaluated by the professional staff, calling on outside expertise when required. The staff then made recommendations to the President for funding under Trustee-approved appropriations. [From report "The J. Paul Getty Trust Grant Program" presented to the Trustees at the April 27, 1980 meeting.] Grants in excess of $50,000 had to be approved by the Trust Grant Committee.

The Getty Grant Program was formally established in 1984 (announced October 11) to serve the visual arts and related humanities by providing funding for work of exceptional merit for which resources were otherwise limited. It supports projects, nationally and internationally, that promote research in the history of art and the humanities, the understanding of art, and conservation. In early 1985 the Grant Program had the following grant categories: library and archival projects at independent centers for advanced research in the history of art; scholarly cataloging of art museum collections; publications; conservation; museum programs to interpret permanent collections; education in the arts; and national and international service organizations. In 1986 the Getty brought "in-house" its postdoctoral fellowship program, which had been administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. In January 2005 the name of the Getty Grant Program was changed to the Getty Foundation.

Hundreds of grants have been made in the area of conservation and preservation, with the intention of supporting projects that strengthen conservation practices as well as protect the world's artistic and architectural heritage. The grants supported both museums and historic buildings in projects that emphasize careful planning and research, in projects that provide training opportunities, and in projects that would act as models of conservation practice for their region or discipline. Documentation of projects was an important aspect of each grant.

Architectural Conservation Grants, awarded from 1988 to 2008, supported the preservation of some of the world's most significant historic buildings. These grants supported both planning and implementation, although the emphasis was on planning. Planning included detailed research on the history and past conservation of a building, scientific analysis, and documentation in the form of drawings and photographs. Once an organization completed its planning and demonstrated that an exemplary conservation project exists, it was encouraged to apply at the project implementation level. Implementation grants provided funds for the conservation work necessary to stabilize and secure a building. These were matching grants, and were intended to serve as regional models, have a lasting impact on the building's preservation, advance a technical practice for understanding particular materials, and provide training opportunities for young conservators.

Museum Conservation Grants supported conservation research and treatment of paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts of international significance with grants over a twenty-year period, from 1988 to 2008. The Foundation awarded two specific types of grants: survey and treatment. Survey grants were designed to help museums analyze and assess the conservation requirements of their collections. Such grants were intended for museums with limited staff and resources; allowing the institutions to hire outside consultants to examine collections and develop recommendations and strategies for actual treatment. Treatment grants supported the conservation of individual works of art, or groups of art. These grants were intended for institutions with limited conservation staff and resources that had undertaken a survey of their collections, and had thus identified priorities for treatment. Treatment grants were generally made for projects that could demonstrate significant new advances in conservation methodologies and documentation. Treatment grants were made in matching form. The emphasis was on supporting best practices, and on interdisciplinary collaborations between conservators and art historians that could yield new insights and methodologies to benefit both fields. Preference was given to model projects, and those with training components that could greatly extend the impact of a given project beyond the host institution.

From 2002 to 2007, the Campus Heritage Initiative supported preservation efforts for over 85 historic campuses across the country, a nationwide survey of independent colleges, and a national conference on campus preservation issues through grants totaling nearly $14 million. This six-year initiative was designed to assist colleges and universities in the United States in managing and preserving the integrity of their significant historic buildings, sites, and landscapes. Grants were awarded for projects that focused on the research and survey of historic resources, preparation of preservation master plans, and development of detailed conservation assessments. The preservation plans produced through the initiative were made available on an interactive Web portal developed through a grant to the Society for College and University Planning. The Campus Heritage Initiative resulted in broad-based awareness of the need for preservation planning on college and university campuses and for integrating preservation planning into the master planning process.

Following Hurricane Katrina in 2004, the Foundation's Fund for New Orleans provided support in two categories: transition planning grants to strengthen cultural organizations as they responded to the changed environment for the arts in New Orleans, and conservation grants to assess the condition of damaged buildings and vulnerable collections and develop prioritized plans for their preservation. Projects ranged from an archeological dig at the Cathedral's St. Anthony's Garden, which unearthed evidence dating back to the city's founding in 1718 and provided a basis for a new conservation plan, to audience surveys of the New Orleans Cultural Coalition-a group of seven arts organizations that came together to analyze the city's past and present arts audiences as they developed new post-Katrina programming and business plans. In all, 22 grants totaling $2.9 million were awarded to museums and arts organizations of all sizes, from the city's landmark museums to historic house museums and community arts organizations.

The three-year Preserve L.A. local initiative focused on the conservation of Los Angeles County's rich architectural heritage. Preserve L.A. grants supported the preservation of a wide variety of buildings and sites that are of architectural, historical, and cultural significance. Funded projects were designed to strengthen the practice of architectural conservation and to serve as models for the preservation of other historic buildings and sites in the region. From 2000 to 2003, 54 grants were awarded totaling $3.8 million to such landmarks as the Gamble House in Pasadena and the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, as well as to significant community resources including the Far East Building in Little Tokyo, the Lopez Adobe in the city of San Fernando, and the Second Baptist Church in South Los Angeles.

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