The Art Conservation Project

The Art Conservation Project preserves cultural treasures from around the world and highlights the crucial need for their protection.

Works of art can provide a lasting reflection of people and their cultures, but they are subject to deterioration over time. The Bank of America Art Conservation Project is a unique program that provides grants to nonprofit museums throughout the world to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of degeneration, including works that have been designated as national treasures.

Since 2010, Bank of America has provided grants to museums in 28 countries for 85 conservation projects through the global Art Conservation Project. 

We are honored to work with many of the world’s leading cultural institutions to support the restoration and conservation of these cultural treasures.

View the conservation of Retrato de Joella (Portrait of Joella) at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.

Explore the process of conserving Henri Matisse's The Swimming Pool at The Museum of Modern Art.

View the conservation of Solitude, one of five works by Marc Chagall conserved by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

See documentary on highlights of the conservation of works by Bronzino and Pontormo.

View the conservation of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ sculpture Diana, in progress at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

View the conservation of The Cosmati Pavement at Westminster Abbey, London.

View the conservation of three historically significant portraits from the Tudor period at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

View the conservation of historical portraits by Gilbert Stuart at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

View the conservation of The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife at the National Gallery of Ireland.

Photo © National Gallery of Ireland

The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Works by nine African American artists

The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), scheduled to open in the spring of 2016, will be the nineteenth museum of the Smithsonian Institution and the only national museum devoted to documenting African American history and culture.

The museum’s Visual Arts Gallery and Collection is specifically dedicated to the artistic production of American artists of African descent. Through the acquisition, preservation, conservation, exhibition and promotion of their work, the Gallery’s mission is to illuminate the critical contributions of these artists to our nation’s culture and history and recognize their rightful place in the canon of American art.

More than 322 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper and mixed media, have been procured through purchase and donation. Many of the acquired works had been previously stored in less-than-ideal environments, resulting in the need for substantial conservation efforts to prepare them for long-term exhibition.

Among these are eight paintings and one work on paper for which conservation is being funded by the Bank of America Art Conservation Project. The conservation process will comprise cleaning, varnish removal, consolidation, inpainting, relining, re-stretching, preservation through proper housing, mounting and safe handling.

Spanning the course of two centuries, the selected works were created by both noted and lesser-known artists:

Joshua Johnson was a former slave who became the first known professional African American portrait painter. Earle Richardson was a painter and aspiring muralist who worked in the 1930s for the Public Works Art Project (PWAP).

Thelma Johnson Streat was a painter who produced several renowned works for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1940s.

John Biggers, painter, printmaker and teacher, was known in the 1930s and 1940s for his social realist narrative murals and later in life for his 1962 award-winning illustrated book: Ananse: The Web of Life in Africa.

Thornton Dial Sr. spent the first half of his life working in heavy industry, building highways and later boxcars at the Pullman Standard Plant, before becoming a self-taught painter, illustrator and found-art sculptor.

Hughie Lee-Smith was a painter and teacher who worked under the WPA and the United States Navy in the 1930s and 1940s and went on to teach at New York’s Art Students League for fifteen years. Late in life, he was commissioned to paint the official City Hall portrait of Mayor David Dinkins.

Mavis Pusey was a printmaker and abstract painter who studied at New York’s Art Students League in the mid-1940s. She would spend the next several decades living and working in London, Paris and New York.

Edward Clark was an early pioneer of post-war era abstract painting, who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Academy de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris. His work was widely exhibited in Modernist circles.

Purvis Young while briefly imprisoned as a young man, was inspired by the works of the African American urban muralists who created “freedom walls” in Chicago and Detroit. He went on to create his own murals on the boarded- up buildings in his Miami neighborhood, the heart of which was demolished to make way for a new interstate highway.

To read more about recipients, click here

If you have questions, click here.

© Thelma Johnson Streat Project
Thelma Johnson Streat (1911 – 1959)
Medicine and Transportation, 1942–1944
Tempera and oil paint on paper on mounting board
15 7/16” x 15 11/16" (39.2 x 38.9 cm)
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture