• Healing Museum

Material Girl

How an acclaimed art school was saved from certain destruction through Metamorphic Conservation

In March 2019, a woman named Karen Buckton visited ProyectArte, a critically-acclaimed art school, where she painted a brightly-hued abstract canvas. First, she toured the school. In the kitchen, she perused Mate gourds, colorful stacks of plates, cups and saucers. In the library, she thumbed through a book as Jorge Luis Borges narrated. Next, she took in an exhibition by Argentine artist Sebastian Tedesco at the adjacent Prima gallery. Finally, she ventured into the cavernous paint-splattered studio in the back of the school and began to paint.

This would not be remarkable per se, except that four years earlier, ProyectArte had been forced to shut its doors. The school, materially speaking, no longer existed. Furthermore, Buckton was nowhere near Villa Crespo, the working class Buenos Aires neighborhood where ProyectArte had once thrived. In the material world, Buckton was a cancer patient at Mon Health in Morgantown, West Virginia. While she painted her landscape at ProyectArte, she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment there.

Buckton described her painting session at the ProyectArte school as her favorite part of the day - a creative way to ease the discomfort and anxiety chemotherapy can produce. For ProyectArte's supporters, teachers and talented artists, new visitors like Buckton represent a radical rebirth. Several years earlier, rapidly rising rents in the school's once gritty Villa Crespo neighborhood, along with a severe national economic crisis, had forced the closure of the socially-minded arts academy. Yet as that brick-and-mortar chapter came to a resounding close, another creative path would appear. Today, ProyectArte is enjoying a virtual renaissance thanks to the Healing Museum and the ALGO Metamorphic Conservation program.

In a later post, we'll delve into how ALGO Metamorphic Conservation is preserving other lost, stolen, censored, endangered or extinct Momentos of natural or cultural value using archival quality immersive restoration techniques developed in conjunction with the renowned Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. And we'll also explore how MONA is using these preserved cultural treasures to improve the lives of patients around the world.

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