As one of the few nonprofit regional conservation centers in the United States, and the only such center in the western region, the Balboa Art Conservation Center is undergoing transformational change as it shifts into a radically inclusive and accessible art conservation organization. The BACC Board helps nourish this shift while ensuring the organization's vision for inclusion has long-term systemic impact.
The BACC Board of Trustees is led by Board President Dana Springs and boasts a board membership that is 50% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color). In addition to its racial diversity, BACC board members are located throughout BACC’s service area, including Seattle, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and San Diego. They bring a range and depth of expertise in community organizing, arts management and advocacy, fundraising, conservation, education, and financial management. Their diverse perspectives and skills are essential as BACC seeks to fulfill its vision for equity and healing within our own structure and workplace, as well as the communities we serve.
Throughout 2023, we are highlighting each of our Board Members to better understand what excites them about being a part of the BACC Team at this transformative time.
Karen Coutts (she/her/hers) is founder of KC Nonprofits, a consulting firm which launched in 2011 and is focused on advancing the needs of nonprofit organizations through strategic planning, fundraising, and high level project management. Karen received her Master’s degree in art history and museum studies from Boston University and worked in museums on the east and west coasts. Over time she gained expertise in various areas including: philanthropy, strategic planning, board engagement, program development, and leadership. Hallmarks of Karen’s work style include a strong belief in her client’s missions, a personalized approach to help them reach their goals, and a warm smile. She believes every Zoom meeting should include at least one cat, dog, or child.
BACC: How does your professional, community, and/or cultural work inform your role as a BACC Board Member?
Karen: I’m proud to work with arts-based clients with diverse missions including art museums, cultural organizations, and historical societies. Additionally I work with a variety of groups focused on under-resourced communities that serve youth, refugee and immigrant communities. Having experience with these different types of nonprofits helps me to understand the need for more traditional conservation, as well as the importance of expanding the construct of what conservation might look like to make it more accessible and equitable.
B: What excites you most about being on the BACC Board?
K: Having a front row seat to the work the BACC team is doing –it will change the future of conservation, and I couldn’t be more proud or excited to be a part of that.
B: If you could have one artwork or artifact (personal or otherwise) conserved by the BACC team, what would it be and why?
K: When I travel I am constantly seeing art and often there are pieces where I think, “This work could use a little TLC from BACC.” Last summer I was in Italy and saw some 13th-century religious icons in dire need of help; I texted the BACC conservators with a picture of one of the paintings. They suggested they hop on a plane to join me so they could get right to work. Sadly, BACC’s nonprofit budget would not accommodate;)
Right now the piece I’m most interested in seeing is Ernie Silva’s Rain House at The New Children’s Museum. This is an important artwork that has some extra special needs as it was built for kids. Not only does it need to look great, and inviting– it needs to support hundreds of thousands of kids each year climbing on, jumping around, and playing inside it. I had the good fortune of being a staff member at The New Children’s Museum when it opened to the public with this version of the Rain House in 2008 (there was an earlier Rain House from 1993). Now, I’m back as a consultant for the museum, and I know they have hopes to conserve the Rain House. It’s a vibrant piece which I know will continue to enchant families for many more years.
Did I interest you in learning more about the Rain House? Visit The Rain House | The New Children's Museum (thinkplaycreate.org) perhaps you’d like to support its preservation with a donation to BACC.