Million Dollar Investment in San Diego for Inclusive, Accessible, and Radical Art Conservation
SAN DIEGO, Calif. —April 14, 2023--Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC), the only nonprofit regional conservation center in the western region, has received one million dollars from the Mellon Foundation, the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities.
This funding will support BACC in its mission to become a radically sustainable and radically inclusive art conservation nonprofit as it reaches its 50th anniversary milestone in 2025. This will include investing in organizational infrastructure, inclusive programming staff, and expanding its service to include objects and preventive conservation, two areas that will ensure that its impact reaches a broader, more diverse audience. By expanding BACC’s capacity and creating leadership development opportunities among its staff, the impact of this funding goes beyond the organization and its service area, impacting the entire field of conservation. This funding only underscores the necessity and urgency to make art conservation knowledge and services accessible to all communities.
Mellon funding is also supporting a Radical Equity analysis to elevate the organization's HR process and protocol and ensure that BACC is practicing the same vision for equity and transformative healing externally as it is internally. These are just a few of the many goals BACC is committed to accomplishing with Mellon support.
BACC is committed to shifting the way regional conservation centers engage with collections and communities. Putting this vision into practice, BACC is undertaking various inclusive conservation programs and broadening the role of a regional conservation center by supporting training and education opportunities, partnering with stewards of community cultural collections, expanding its conservation knowledge base to include culturally conscious and responsive methods of care, and learning from and dialoguing with artists and caretakers of diverse cultural heritage and ancestral collections. Addressing a historic disinvestment in BIPOC communities by the field of conservation, BACC has initiated workforce development programs to introduce art conservation as a career to a more diverse audience in hopes of remedying what is one of the least diverse fields of the arts sector.
Leticia Gomez Franco, BACC’s Executive Director since 2020, reminds us that for BACC, inclusion is not a deliverable; it is a process. BACC fully intends to live in this moment to ensure the ongoing transformation is intentional, thoughtful, and impactful. “As a woman of color, a community organizer, and social justice advocate, leading BACC means practicing accountability for this organization, and for the field at large. The intentional institutional exclusion of our BIPOC communities from cultural preservation requires a reckoning. Support from the Mellon Foundation acknowledges and celebrates who BACC is unapologetically becoming. BACC is building the vision for what cultural preservation and art conservation can look like: inclusive, accessible, and radical.”
About Balboa Art Conservation Center
The Balboa Art Conservation Center (BACC) provides art conservation and cultural preservation services for cultural institutions and the general public. The San Diego-based nonprofit is one of only eight regional nonprofit art conservation organizations in the country and the only one in the western region. Founded in 1975, BACC provides art conservation and cultural preservation services to cultural institutions and the general public, focusing on the care of works of art, cultural objects, and historic artifacts, technical imaging, and analysis while also providing educational opportunities for emerging conservators. Learn more at bacc.org.
About Mellon Foundation
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.
Image Description: Art Conservators performing surface cleaning on a painting in the Balboa Art Conservation Center's Paintings Conservation Lab. San Diego, CA
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