Bank of America Is Funding Another Round of Conservation Projects at Museums Worldwide

The financial institution's annual art conservation grants will go to twenty-four cultural institutions in eleven different countries.

Oil painting of waterlilies against dark blue water
Claude Monet, Waterlilies, (1914-1915). Portland Art Museum/Museum purchase: Helen Thurston Ayer Fund

A 20th-century Monet, a contemporary LED installation by Jenny Holzer and a duo of Japanese wooden statues will soon receive conservation upgrades enabled by the Bank of America (BAC) Art Conservation Project, which has given more than $20 million annually since 2010 to fund preservation initiatives at art institutions around the globe. This year’s grants—the amounts have not yet been disclosed—will go to twenty-four nonprofit cultural institutions in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., France, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, India and Japan.

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“While the projects represent many different art movements, media, time periods and cultures, they all reflect the creativity, ingenuity and passion of the people who created these works,” said Brian Siegel, Bank of America’s global arts, culture and heritage executive, in a statement.

For Monet’s Waterlilies at the Portland Art Museum, Art Conservation Project funds will pay for the removal of the work’s synthetic varnish to reveal its matte and chalky surface line per Monet’s original wishes for the painting. Selections of Holzer’s digital and text-based 1989 installation Truisms, Inflammatory Essays, The Living Series, The Survival Series, Under a Rock, Laments and Child Text will be revived for an upcoming exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim, while the cracks and discolorations of two Buddhist sculptures at Japan’s Nara National Museum will be repaired.

Other projects that will be funded by 2024 Bank of America Art Conservation Project grants include the restoration of Edgar Degas’s Dancer with Bouquets at Virginia’s Chrysler Museum and Bessie Potter Vonnoh’s statuette of Susan B. Anthony at a Rochester museum named for the women’s rights activist, in addition to the conservation of thirty-two paintings and their frames at the Louvre’s Napoléon III Apartments that are expected to be completed in time for the upcoming Paris Summer Olympic Games. The grantees were selected with the help of a seven-person advisory panel consisting of curators working at art institutions like the Barnes Foundation, Seattle Art Museum, Chrysler Museum, Guggenheim and J. Paul Getty Museum.

The art of Bank of America

Bank of America’s conservation program has funded more than 261 projects in forty countries since its inception more than a decade ago, but it isn’t the only initiative supported by Bank of America that aims to preserve works of art that are historically or culturally significant. The financial institution also supports conservation education programs like the University of Delaware’s Six-Week Introduction to Practical Conservation course and the Smithsonian’s Cultural Rescue Initiative. “These programs and the individuals who carry them out are just one part of a larger ecosystem that is working to preserve and protect cultural treasures for future generations,” said Siegel.

Art is a significant part of the institution’s auxiliary activities—it manages a 60,000-piece art collection of contemporary work by the likes of Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Joan Mitchell. The bank shares its holdings through its Art in Our Communities lending program, which launched in 2009 to mount select exhibitions at no cost. Current shows on loan include “Modern Women/Modern Vision” at California’s Bakersfield Museum of Art and “Its Moment in Time: A Legacy of Photographs” at Ohio’s Taft Museum of Art.

The bank also offers free admission to Bank of America cardholders during the first full weekend of every month at more than 225 art institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), Pérez Art Museum Miami and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It is also a frequent sponsor of major exhibitions, like “The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism” at the Met and “ED RUSCHA/NOW THEN” at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Bank of America Is Funding Another Round of Conservation Projects at Museums Worldwide