MIAMI — Today, the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (FAIC) announced that on Monday, December 10 they will be opening a temporary facility in the Industrial City neighborhood of Brooklyn to provide volunteer assistance and work space to museums, libraries, archives, historic sites, galleries, collectors, and artists impacted by late October’s Hurricane Sandy.
In cooperation with Alliance for Response New York City, Heritage Preservation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York Regional Association for Conservation, Industry City at Bush Terminal, and the Smithsonian Institution, FAIC will open the facility to help roughly 120 small collections, galleries, and artists in New York and New Jersey.
FAIC’s Institutional Advancement Director Eric Pourchot explained to Hyperallergic that the initial work will be by appointment only, but by next week the organization should begin publicizing a phone number and other contact information for individuals and organizations in need.
“Paintings seem to be the bulk of the work needed — mold can grow between the stretcher and the canvas, even though the surface feels dry,” Pourchout said. “But we also know of photograph, works on paper, fiber, and sculpture materials that need work.”
In the days following Hurricane Sandy, FAIC fielded over 55 calls from collectors, artists, and museums, while 40 volunteers worked on the NYC response, and a number of AIC member conservators in private practices throughout the New York City region were helping owners preserve their collections. The Hurricane Sandy relief efforts have been the largest response FAIC has ever coordinated.
“We have responded to over 120 requests for help in New York and New Jersey. The number of individual artists requesting assistance is staggering, and most do not have insurance,” he said.
FAIC announced that funding for the temporary facility has been provided by a gift from Sotheby’s. While the Smithsonian Institution and a grant to Heritage Preservation from the New York Community Trust, as well as support from TALAS, have enabled purchase of supplies. The temporary center has also been outfitted with supplies from Materials for the Arts. Additional donations to FAIC have come from the PINTA Modern & Contemporary Latin American Art Show, Tru Vue, members of the American Institute for Conservation, and others. The American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Modern Art have also provided key support for recovery efforts.
Access to some collections, including those of individual artists, is only now becoming possible, FAIC explained in their announcement, and artwork that has been dried still may need rinsing and cleaning to remove residues and mold spores. The Cultural Recovery Center will offer space and expertise to help owners stabilize their collections.