A Program to Protect and Elevate artwork
from Community-Led Movements
Preserve Community Art is an initiative of the Balboa Art Conservation Center born in response to both a long standing need to acknowledge systemic racism and exclusion in the field of conservation as well as in direct and immediate response to the Summer of 2020 movement led by Black Lives Matter to address racial injustice. In response to the racial justice movement, BACC launched Preserve Community Art and under it, PCA: Preserving San Diego Activist Art to support the documentation and preservation of San Diego BLM Protest Art. As BACC’s flagship initiative, PCA will continue to grow with responsive projects in an effort to go beyond providing access to the field of conservation to historically underrepresented communities, and expand the existing knowledge base to include culturally conscious methods of conservation. In doing so BACC seeks to reimagine the field of conservation altogether.
The Balboa Art Conservation Center created the Preserve Community Art! program as part of the organization’s ongoing commitment to protect important cultural heritage. Through this initiative BACC provides support for culturally significant works that emerge from community-led movements in the San Diego area.
This program has several overarching goals:
- To serve as a resource for the art that is created as a direct result of community-led movements, the individuals who create the art, and the organizations that might later showcase or collect the art objects.
- To document and preserve cultural collections so that future generations may learn from it.
- And finally, to expand the definition of what holds artistic importance. Too often the mainstream asserts that the only art that matters is older, commissioned, or displayed in museums. By treating community-created objects with the same care and respect that we provide to priceless works of art, BACC is noting that community-led movements are both historically and artistically important.
What might preserving the artistic expression of community-led movements look like via this program?
- BACC assisting with the photographic documentation of art objects or murals, artist interviews, and condition assessments during or immediately following a socially significant movement.
- Conservation staff making recommendations for artists, exhibition spaces, and collecting institutions about the safe handling, display, and storage of artwork or completing conservation treatments on damaged artwork or activist-related documents.
- BACC facilitating discussions with artists and affiliated organizations about conservation and preservation ethics, preservation strategies vs. accepted ephemerality of artwork, and artists’ rights over said artwork (for example the Federal Visual Artists Rights Act, California Artist Preservation Act) ... and more.
Projects will be considered for this program on a case-by-case basis. Organizations and individuals interested in submitting work or ideas for consideration are encouraged to do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current PCA programs
- Art of Activism
- Preserving Chicana/o/x Art