1. Sibylla Tringham conserves wall paintings in the Sheesh Mahal at Nagaur Fort, India.

The generosity of Getty

The J Paul Getty Trust, the world's largest cultural and philanthropic organisation devoted to the visual arts, has given an update on its conservation projects and new funding, and reported on the J Paul Getty Medal award to the historian Mary Beard and the artists Lorna Simpson and Ed Ruscha, identified as 'Three leaders who have helped transform and deepen our understanding and appreciation of the visual arts and the humanities.'

But Getty's most far-reaching innovation is Arches, an open-source cultural heritage data management platform, developed by the Getty Conservation Institute with the World Monuments Fund. Arches allows anyone to make an inventory and manage any heritage site in the world. Teaming up with the City of Lincoln, for example, Arches was used to develop ARCADE (Access Resource for Conservation and Archaeology in a Development Environment), a publicly accessible web-based system resulting in an inventory of the city's 18,000 archaeological and technical records (2).


2. Screenshot of ARCADE that shows the ability to spatially query data by drawing an area on a map of Lincoln.

The Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa (EAMENA) project based at Oxford University is using Arches to record archaeological sites and landscapes across 20 regions.

Getty also announced that it had given a £5million endowment grant to the Courtauld Institute of Art's Wall Painting postgraduate programme. This three-year MA course has been running since 1985, and it remains the only one in the world. At Nagaur Fort in Rajastan, for example, conservator Sibylla Tringham (1) from the Courtauld has spent six weeks every year, since 2006, conserving its wall paintings and providing training for local people to become conservators. Works of art were also given a boost with Conserving Canvas, a Getty funding initiative to ensure skills are not lost by supporting workshops, seminars, training residencies and holding a symposium. One of the first recipients was the National Gallery in London for conservation work on Van Dyck's Equestrian Portrait of Charles I.

Then, there is the Getty Foundation's Keeping it Modern grants, which have benefitted 52 20th-century buildings in need of conservation. This ties in with Bauhaus Beginnings, a new show opening on 11 June at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, to mark the 100th anniversary of the radical German art and design school. All in all this adds uo to a cornucopia of Getty generosity to the arts worldwide.

• (ARCADE: www.arcade.lincoln.gov.uk; www.archesproject.org/collector;
www.courtauld.ac.uk/study)
Roger Williams

 
 
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