Art-handling course draws people from across country

For the second consecutive year, Housatonic Community College’s art-handling workshop has attracted people from across the country.

Designed for museum curators and staff, the workshop on June 27 and 28 attracted some 17 people from as far away as California, Texas, Illinois, and South Carolina. A similar workshop offered in December also attracted people from across the nation.

“We’re delighted that this specialized workshop appealed to so many people from so many places,” said Dean of Community Outreach Denise S. Bukovan, whose continuing education division offered the event. “Housatonic hosts one of the largest art collections of any two-year college in the country. In view of this, it’s certainly appropriate that we host hard-to-find niche courses of value to the art community.”

The workshop, a certificate program, covered the history of collection care, including advanced principles and practices. Likewise, it addressed protecting art objects, including a review of materials commonly used to protect objects during handling.

The workshop placed special emphasis on advanced handling techniques and materials for both two- and three-dimensional objects. It reviewed the types of handling equipment that may be needed, as well as materials and techniques for use in making handling containers.

Adding to the appeal of the class was the lead instructor Brent Powell, a nationally known expert in art handling.

“Brent has designed, organized and conducted programs of “best practices” on the subject of collection care principles since 1991,” said Robbin Zella, director of the Housatonic Museum of Art, which cosponsored the workshop.  “Brent is currently the chairman of the Preparation, Art Handling and Collections Care Information Network (PACCIN).

“He has been an active member of PACCIN, in various capacities, since 1991,” she added. “In conjunction with PACCIN he has co-authored, compiled and edited three publications and has written for other publications within AAM and the museum industry.”

Powell is employed by Artex Fine Arts as the Senior Project Manager for the relocation of the National Museum of Health and Medicine. He holds a master’s of fine arts degree in painting from the University of Arizona.

Jobs in the field start at $38 per hour, Zella said. The program is sponsored in part by the Werth Family Foundation.

In view of the widespread popularity of the workshop and the favorable student reviews, Bukovan said the college will continue to offer them.

“We’re planning to expand the workshop to include conservation and restoration and offer them twice a year,” she said.

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