UCLA/Getty conservation program receives $1M Mellon Foundation grant

13 February 2012
UCLA has received a $1-million challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of the UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program on the Conservation of Archeological and Ethnographic Materials , which provides cutting-edge graduate training integrating research and preservation techniques of cultural heritage artifacts.

Once the match is achieved, the endowment will enable the conservation program to improve the student experience through more competitive fellowships and enhanced educational resources.

"There is a vital need to provide resources for the preservation of material culture in the face of modernization and global emerging challenges, this support will be instrumental in addressing this need by training the next generation of conservators educated in the best practices and methods in conservation," said Ioanna Kakoulli, associate professor in the Department of Material Science and Engineering who was recently appointed chair of the program The UCLA/Getty Conservation program is the youngest (out of five) conservation graduate degree-granting program in North America and the only one in the western United States. Established as a partnership between UCLA and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) at the J. Paul Getty Trust, it is the sole program focusing on the conservation of archaeological and ethnographic materials. In addition to Kakoulli, it is staffed by David A. Scott, Professor in the Department of Art History and Ellen Pearlstein, Associate Professor in the Department of Information Studies.

Housed in the internationally renowned Cotsen Institute for Archaeology at UCLA and the Getty Villa, students and faculty of the program are able to work in state-of-the-art laboratories on authentic objects from local collections housed in local museums. Internships at top-tier museums and archaeological sites are also a major component of the program.

"The Mellon challenge grant and the matching gift support will enable the UCLA/Getty program to add significantly to the pipeline of conservation experts with the specialist knowledge and skills to preserve fragile artifacts and materials for decades to come," Kakoulli noted.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private foundation that makes grants on a selective basis in the areas of higher education, art history, conservation, and museums, performing arts, and conservation and the environment. The Mellon Foundation has been a long-standing benefactor to UCLA, supporting, in addition to this gift, a wide array of university initiatives.