Award winning illustrations, posters, and works of graphic design will rest a little easier now thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
UTC’s Cress Gallery is home to 1,715 original works of design, printmaking, painting, drawing, small sculpture, ceramics, and video. Works from the Permanent Collection take over the white walls and floor space of the gallery every summer.
NEH’s recently awarded Preservation Assistance Grant will provide funding for preservation support specifically for works on paper in our Permanent Collection, many of which are decades old and require special attention due to their fragile state. In addition to the material necessary for preservation, the grant will cover the costs for a certified art conservator to visit UTC, assess and assist in developing a long-term preservation plan, as well as train our staff in sustainable preservation methods.
“The Cress Gallery is truly grateful for the recognition the NEH has given our Permanent Collection of Art here at UTC. Our extensive holdings of artwork on paper targeted by the grant are mostly unique and not available at any other institution,” said Ruth Grover, Director and Curator, Cress Gallery and Collections.
Included in the collections to be protected are the works of former head of the Department of Art, Weimer Pursell. He began his tenure with UTC, then University of Chattanooga, in 1948. Pursell’s nationally acclaimed work includes iconic home front posters from World War II along with illustrations and covers featured in Fortune, Forbes, and Newsweek, to name a few.
“Pursell recognized the power of images not only as a tools for advertisement, but as capable of being culturally, emotionally, and socially charged,” stated the grant application.
Our Design Excellence (50 Posters of the ‘80s) collection is also a priority for preservation efforts. The collection features works from recent history’s nationally and internationally recognized graphic artists. Barry Moser and Frank Baisden, both regional artists with intimate ties to the University, are also featured in our collection of original works on paper along with original limited edition prints by major American and European Modern Era artists such as Robert Motherwell, John Piper, Patrick Caldwell, and Dieter Roth, whose works will directly benefit from this grant.
“That an institution of our size holds such a recognizable inventory of original art is amazing. This NEH Preservation Assistance Grant affirms the importance of the collection and will allow us to begin the path to preserving and providing greater accessibility to these fine works,” explained Grover.