Culture and Sustainability: Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project

As time passes, the world’s most cherished art pieces and cultural artifacts face an ever-increasing threat of deterioration. However, with the combined efforts of passionate individuals and supportive organizations, these treasures continue to inspire and educate generations. One such organization, Bank of America, has announced the recipients of their 2023 Art Conservation Project, extending support to 23 cultural institutions spanning the globe from China to the United States. These institutions embody the diverse nature of human creativity, encompassing a variety of artistic styles, media, and cultural traditions.

Since its inception in 2010, Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project has been committed to preserving paintings, sculptures, archaeological pieces, and architectural elements that are crucial to our cultural heritage and the history of art. To date, over 237 projects in 40 countries, all managed by nonprofit cultural organizations, have received financial support to conserve these vital works, which are at risk of being lost to the ravages of time.

hand sewing an old manuscript

A few of the remarkable projects from this year’s grant recipients include:

  1. Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Preserving the iconic Urban Light (2008), a sculpture by American artist Chris Burden that has become an unofficial symbol of the city. Comprising 202 historic streetlamps, the installation is a popular favorite among visitors.
  2. Armenian Museum of America: Restoring 21 illuminated manuscripts dating back to the fifth century, many of which were damaged during World War I or looted and subsequently dispersed around the world.
  3. Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris: Bringing new life to Rythme (1938), an abstract painting in the Orphism style by French artist Sonia Delaunay.
  4. National Gallery Singapore: Conserving Chen Wen Hsi’s Gibbons (1977), a lively ink painting depicting native primates of Singapore, which showcases the brilliance of the Chinese artist.
  5. The Hawai’i State Archives: Safeguarding three royal portraits, including William Cogswell’s portrayal of Queen Lili’uokalani (1892), the last sovereign monarch of Hawai’i.
  6. Hampton University Museum: Preserving 29 works on paper by the prolific African American artist Dr. John T. Biggers.
  7. The Arab Image Foundation: Preserving, digitizing, and documenting 98 handmade photo albums by Lebanese photographer Agop Kouyoumjian, ensuring that his legacy endures.

Brian Siegel, Global Arts, Culture & Heritage Executive at Bank of America, stresses the importance of art conservation, stating that “art and objects of cultural heritage are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of time. The conservation of these works allows society at large to continue to be inspired by the rich diversity of the human experience.” By supporting these efforts, Bank of America is actively working towards promoting cultural sustainability and preserving our shared history for future generations.

woman restoring an mural on a ceiling of a museum

The Art Conservation Project serves as a prime example of Bank of America’s dedication to promoting cultural sustainability and making the arts more accessible and inclusive in communities around the world. Through their extensive support of local and global nonprofit organizations, Bank of America encourages engagement and drives responsible growth, ensuring that the beauty of our cultural heritage remains alive and vibrant for generations to come. For a full list of museums receiving grants through the 2023 Bank of America Art Conservation Project, please view the 2023 Art Conservation Project brochure.

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