Art conservation set to hold open house in October

Elissa Smith, Reporter

The art conservation department at SUNY Buffalo State is getting ready for their open house in October.

The open house is October 17th, and runs from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on the second floor of Rockwell Hall. The event is free and open to the public, reservations are not required. Science labs will be open to walk around in and students and faculty will be there to talk to the public.

“This is a rare opportunity to learn more about the department, most of the events are private,” Patrick Ravines, director and associate professor of the art conservation department said. If you’re looking to find out more about the department, or just spend the afternoon learning about something different, this is your chance.

Founded in 1970, this three year graduate program takes only ten students per year and prepares them to be professional conservators. Using a combination of art, science, technology and history, students restore priceless masterpieces. They’ll work with wood, metal, glass, photographs, paintings, documents, ceramics, furniture, musical instruments, and other materials.

The department holds a clinic in September every year where private individuals, along with museum professionals, bring in artwork for possible conservation treatment.

“People will approach us who have art they want us to work on. We turn down probably 25 percent of the pieces we’re offered. Sometimes, they’re too far gone for us, there’s nothing we can do. But at the same time we don’t want them to be too easy. They need to fit in the academic environment,” Ravines said.

During the first year of the program, students take classes that work with paper, painting and objects. They also take conservation imaging, documentation, and conservation science courses. The second year students pick one area and focus on it, continuing to take conservation science courses. The third year of the program is a full time internship at a museum or library. There are over 350 alumni who have graduated from this department. Some of them include a graduate who started her own private art conservation practice, specializing in objects. Another alumna now owns a studio specializing in paintings. A recent graduate got the rare opportunity to work with the USS Enterprise, the spaceship from the original Star Trek series.

The department expanded in 2013 to include specialized spots to work on both photographs and rare books, a library with over 4,000 conservation texts for students to work with, and a paper conservation suite.

Now is your chance for a unique opportunity to find out more about this intricate and incredible department right here at Buffalo State.