ANNOUNCING THE RETIREMENT OF DIRECTOR AND DEPARTMENT HEAD OF PAINTINGS, TOM BRANCHICK Tom Branchick retired as both the Director of the Williamstown and Atlanta Art Conservation Center and Department Head of Paintings Conservation in July of 2021. Tom was at the Center for an impressive forty years after starting in the paintings conservation studio in 1981 when the WACC-AACC was known as the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory (WRACL). Tom was named the Department Head of Paintings Conservation in 1986, a few years prior to his appointment as WACC’s third director in 1997. Tom’s insight and leadership have resulted in the growth of the Williamstown + Atlanta Art Conservation. After dedicating forty years of his life to the WACC, Tom’s list of contributions to the Center is impressive and integral to its development as a leading institution in art conservation and education.
photo of tom branchick (above) | by matt hamilton
He oversaw the establishment of the Atlanta Art Conservation Center in 2001, the establishment of the Judith Lenett Fellowship, the founding of our Art Conservator publication in collaboration with Timothy Cahill, and the move of the Williamstown Art Conservation Center to its extraordinary new facility in 2007 at Stone Hill Center; our 20,000 square foot facility designed by world-renowned Tadao Ando. In addition to his administrative contributions, Tom leaves a legacy of remarkable conservation treatments and the long-standing preservation of many diverse collections from our Members and private clients. His dedication to the preservation of the collections belonging to our member institutions was recently exemplified in 2019 through the award of a Stockman Foundation Grant in the amount of $238,000 for the Albany Institute of History and Art. The grant was focused on the preservation of thirty-five 18th century Dutch Patroon portraits in the collection of the Albany Institute of History and Art. This project was both a dream and a promise of his that he committed to when he became department head in 1986. As he was retiring, emails from both our members and clients came with praise and gratitude for Tom’s expert knowledge, dedication, and good humor. Tom adds to this list his many years as a lecturer for the Williams College ART508 course that is taught to Williams College Graduate Art History Students. He celebrated WACC’s fortieth anniversary in 2017 and accomplished his crowning achievement in 2018 when the Center received an award of $580,000 from the Mellon Foundation’s Comprehensive Organizational Health Initiative. In collaboration with Tom, the grant initiative was worked on by our current Director of Finance, Terry Haskins with assistance from Maggie Barkovic. Since Tom’s retirement, Maggie Barkovic and Montserrat Le Mense have taken on the leadership of the Paintings Conservation studio; Maggie was named Department Head of Paintings Conservation, and Montserrat Le Mense, Senior Paintings Conservator, leads our intern training program for pre-program conservation students. Terry Haskins and Rob Conzett have absorbed Tom’s administrative duties as Director of Finance and Director of Operations while the Center looks for its fourth director.
ADDITIONAL UPDATES AT THE WILLIAMSTOWN + ATLANTA ART CONSERVATION CENTERS After graduating from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation in August of 2021, Amanda Kasman joined our Atlanta team as an assistant conservator of paintings. During her studies, she completed internships at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Dallas Museum of Art, and Winterthur Museum. The breadth of Amanda’s conservation experience ranges from pre-Roman statuary in Sardinia to 20th century American dollhouse miniatures to 19th-century Thai Buddhist panel paintings. One of the focuses of Amanda’s research has been the treatment of paintings by African American artists and artworks depicting the horrors of American slavery. The African American artists she has studied extensively include Charles Dawson and William Henry Johnson. Amanda has also participated in and presented a talk on the early stages of a public outreach initiative intended to introduce students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to the field of conservation. We are thrilled to have her join our team in Atlanta! The paintings conservation department in Williamstown welcomed pre-program intern, Stephanie Gold to the studio in September of 2021. She joins Lila Reid in our preprogram intern training program, headed by Montserrat Le Mense, our Senior Paintings Conservator. Our training program helps students prepare and apply to the competitive art conservation graduate schools in the United States. Stephanie graduated with a double major in Chemistry and Art History with a minor in the Visual Arts from Boston University in spring of 2020. We are continually impressed with the development of her practical skills and comprehension of art conservation theory. As we welcomed two new staff members this fall, we also said goodbye to our postgraduate fellows (2020-2021). Sally Gunhee Kim, Post-graduate Fellow in Objects Conservation, accepted a job at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Rachel Childers, Post-graduate Fellow in Paintings Conservation, starts another Post-graduate Fellowship at the Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL), the Dutch art conservation training school located in Maastricht, NL. Kristen Gillette, associate conservator of objects, has returned to her home in the mid-west following the acceptance of a job at the Art Institute of Chicago. We wish Sally, Rachel, and Kristen the best of luck in the next chapter of their conservation careers. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum rejoined as one of our member institutions in October of 2021. Mount Holyoke College Art Museum is one of the five institutions that helped found the Williamstown Art Conservation Center in 1977 (formerly the Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory).
JOB POSTING | ASSISTANT OR ASSOCIATE CONSERVATOR OF OBJECTS, ATLANTA The Williamstown + Atlanta Art Conservation Center seeks a qualified candidate in Object Conservation to work in their Atlanta, GA facility. The individual that fills this position will be engaged in the Thornton Dial Project in collaboration with our Williamstown Conservation Center and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. For more information on this position and to submit an application, click here.
JOB POSTING | CONSERVATION TECHNICIAN, WILLIAMSTOWN The Williamstown + Atlanta Art Conservation Center seeks a qualified candidate to work in their Williamstown, MA facility. Under supervision, the Conservation Technician assists the professional conservation staff in a variety of duties relating to the preservation and restoration of works of art. The Technician assists with art movement, storage, and handling; preparation of conservation materials. He/she also assists with the monitoring of environmental conditions and pest management. For more information on this position and to submit an application, click here.