FUNDS WILL BE USED TO TO SUPPORT AN INCOMING PAPER FELLOW AT THE CENTER
The Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC) is pleased to announce that it has received $25,000 from The Conrad Prebys Foundation in San Diego to bolster BACC’s Conservation Fellowship Program in 2021. The project is one of 121 selected to receive funding in this, the foundation’s first-ever grant cycle, and BACC is honored to be among the inaugural cohort of grantees.
BACC’s Fellowships are an important component in training the next generation of art conservators. Historically supported through an endowment from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, BACC’s Fellowship Program has for decades provided recent graduates with the opportunity to gain highly coveted experience in art conservation in preparation for a full-time career in the field. In its ongoing commitment to create opportunities that are equitable, BACC has secured this additional funding to support the growth of our existing program into one that is truly competitive, accessible, and provides a livable stipend for the incoming paper fellow.
“The Balboa Art Conservation Center is grateful to have been among those selected to receive much needed support from the Conrad Prebys Foundation during these difficult times. After a year of impacted revenues due to the pandemic, organizations will be faced with the task of rebuilding and strengthening our workforce,” noted Leticia Gomez Franco, Executive Director at BACC. “The support from the Conrad Prebys Foundation comes at a time when the Balboa Art Conservation Center has made a commitment to shift into a model that fully supports diversity and inclusion, the funds will allow BACC to build a proper foundation and strengthen our Fellowship Program to benefit communities historically underrepresented in the field, ensuring that intentional inclusion is built into the organization's long-term vision.”
Support from funding institutions, especially those so committed to San Diego like Cornad Prebys, will be instrumental in ensuring organizations can rebuild after this past year. BACC is committed to supporting art conservation and cultural preservation’s incoming workforce, and is elated to find a partner in the foundation. “Conrad was adamant that his education was a catalyst for many of the successes in his life,” said Tony Cortes, board chair of The Conrad Prebys Foundation. “He would be ecstatic to see the foundation supporting organizations that inspire a love of learning and promote advancement opportunities within our region.”
Applications for the 2021 Paper Conservation Fellowship funded by the Conrad Prebys Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will be available beginning March 24, 2021 on BACC’s website.
For more information, or to request an interview, please contact Staci Golar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619.236.9702.
About the Balboa Art Conservation Center
With 45 years of experience, the Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC) is the western region's premier non-profit art conservation facility, offering museum-quality conservation treatments, investigative technical imaging and analysis, and extensive preservation services for institutions and individuals. A nonprofit organization, BACC is located in the heart of Balboa Park. Learn more at www.bacc.org
Assessing Paintings During a Pandemic: How the NEH Has Bolstered BACC’s Ability to Connect Virtually with Clients
Last summer BACC was approached by a museum in Salt Lake City, Utah, about the possibility of conserving a selection of paintings by an American painter for an exhibition. The work was housed in the museum’s collections storage in Utah, posing an interesting logistics challenge for BACC’s art conservators who needed to do an initial assessment of the paintings in order to draft a treatment plan but were limited by travel and access restrictions due to the current global pandemic.
The Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC), the western region’s premier and only nonprofit art conservation center, is thrilled to announce that it has hired cultural heritage champion and experienced arts administrator Leticia Gomez Franco as its next Executive Director. She will start in early December.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to lead BACC as its new Executive Director and committed to the possibilities in this new position,” Gomez Franco said. “Conservation centers play a pivotal role in ensuring the objects that make up our historical cultural inheritance survive the times. Let us dare to reimagine our role as more than caretakers of objects, but also of the stories they keep, the societies they represent, and the people they exclude. Let this be the moment we shift — along with the world — into the uncharted territory of inclusivity. As the leading conservation center in the west, the small but mighty team at BACC is ready to engage communities, demystify the field of conservation, stimulate dialogue, and usher the work into a more inclusive framework.”
A seasoned arts professional with deep roots in the San Diego community, Gomez Franco’s commitment to preserving culture, as well as her hands-on experience with exhibitions, artists, and communities, were some of the elements that the hiring committee of BACC’s Board of Trustees found most engaging. Her background in reimagining spaces, decentralizing narratives, and engaging collective knowledge makes her uniquely positioned to expand on programs like those BACC has recently launched to engage with the broader community. Not surprisingly, RISE San Diego nominated her for a 2020 Inclusive Leadership In Action (ILIA) Award in the “culture shifter” category and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures has awarded Gomez Franco two fellowships: one for advocacy in 2019 and another for leadership in 2015.
BACC’s Board President, Karen Coutts, said, “Leticia Gomez Franco’s background and perspective are an excellent complement to the expertise of our world-class conservators. With Leticia at the helm we are reaffirming the importance of the work we do every day in conservation and preservation while moving to diversify our audiences and expand our work to new communities.”
Gomez Franco most recently served as the Senior Arts and Culture Funding Manager of the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture where she administered over $11 million in grants for community arts organizations, reenvisioned programming guidelines and, in the last few months, made dynamic shifts to administrative processes in response to the global health crisis. She was instrumental in forging long-term systemic change to ensure the City serves and responds to all of its diverse communities. A fan of the literary arts, Gomez Franco was behind the launch of the City's first Poet Laureate program, as well.
Before joining the City of San Diego, Gomez Franco served as Director of Programs and Lead Curator for the New Americans Museum, an institution dedicated to preserving and presenting the immigrant experience, and established The Front: A Collaborative of Art, Culture, Design and Urbanism as a formal art gallery and leading binational laboratory of creative thought in the world's most trafficked border region, San Ysidro/Tijuana. As an accomplished curator she has developed more than forty exhibitions at various museums and galleries. Her independently curated work has elicited nationwide press and attention, as well.
Gomez Franco holds a master’s degree in Curatorial Theory from the Liberal Arts and Sciences program of San Diego State University, and a bachelor’s in English and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.
BACC is one of the first art conservation centers that was established in the United States and Leticia Gomez Franco’s hire is another step in the organization’s transition to a new business and leadership model as supported by the Mellon Foundation’s Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative. BACC’s previous Executive Director, Janet Ruggles, retired at the end of 2019 after 37 years of dedicated service to the Center.
For more information, or to request images or an interview, please email Staci Golar.
BACC’s Assistant Conservator of Paintings, Morgan Wylder, recently received the Professional Associate designation from the American Institute for Conservation.
To obtain this designation, conservators or preservation specialists are required to have completed an undergraduate degree, received formal education in their field for at least two years, and then completed at least three years of full-time conservation or conservation-related work. Applicants must also submit a portfolio of conservation projects, essays about AIC's Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Conservation, and letters of recommendation from other AIC members with Professional Associate status.
As the field of conservation has no official legal licensing to determine who can be called a conservator, the Professional Associate designation is one way that conservators can demonstrate that they have had both extensive training and understand the ethics of the conservation field. All Professional Associates can be found on the American Institute for Conservation's website under the "Find an Expert" tab.
A documentary that tells the story of one of BACC's founders, George Leslie Stout, is part of the official selection of films at the Arkhaios Cultural Heritage and Archaeology Film Festival.
Directed by Kevin Kelley and produced by Marie Wilkes, Stout Hearted: George Stout and the Guardians of Art, can be watched as part of the festivals's FREE online festivities between now and October 11.
Stout Hearted tells the story of George L. Stout, an art student from Winterset, Iowa, who became the leader of the Monuments Men during World War II. This group, a military special forces unit, was assigned the mission of retrieving stolen art from the Nazis. The film also explores Stout's pioneering efforts in the areas of art conservation which elevated the discipline into the world of modern science.
In the 70s, Stout was serving as the visiting director at the Timken Museum of Art when he noticed a growing need to establish a conservation center for the San Diego area’s growing cultural heritage. He teamed up with Henry Gardiner, then director of the San Diego Art Museum, to develop a plan for the center and in March 1975 BACC was incorporated as a private, nonprofit organization.