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US Ambassador’s Fund sponsors cost of Conservation Work on art in Jamaica’s National Gallery Collection

Entertainment and Culture Minister, the Hon. Olivia Grange
Entertainment and Culture Minister, the Hon. Olivia Grange

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Honourable Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, (MICYS) has lauded the collaboration between the National Gallery of Jamaica the United States Ambassador’s Fund as further demonstration of the strong cultural and artistic bond that exists between Jamaica and the US.

Minister Grange spoke Wednesday, July 16 at ceremony at which a cheque for just under two million dollars (J$1,974,592.50) was presented to the Gallery by United States Ambassador Brenda LaGrange.

Minister Grange said the money will be used to offset the cost of conservation work on five of the National Gallery’s works which are to be sent to the Western Centre for the Conservation of Fine Arts located in Denver, Colorado in the US.

The Minister recalled in 2006, the Gallery was presented with the US Ambassador’s Award and was able to bring to Jamaica two conservation experts who spent a number of weeks at the Gallery examining the collections.

She said the two experts also gave workshops during which basic conservation techniques were demonstrated.

“This is now the second phase,” Minister Grange said, adding that she was “delighted to see that the US Government is committed to a long-term, albeit long-distance, relationship.”

“The National Gallery of Jamaica belongs to the people of Jamaica and its collections are an essential part of the heritage of all Jamaicans, including the citizens of the Jamaican Diaspora. It is the duty and privilege of the Gallery to preserve these historic collections. Preserving the collections and seeking new ways to fund restoration is an essential role of the National Gallery.”

Ambassador LaGrange said that through a range of preservation activities, the US State Department, with the use of the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, had supported almost 500 projects worldwide, totaling more than US$12 million and “illustrating America’s commitment to helping people around the world preserve and protect their rich cultural traditions.”

While expressing thanks on behalf of the National Gallery, Chairman Wayne Chen, said it was his hope that it would not be the last of such assistance from the United States.

Also involved in the ceremony was Dr. David Boxer, Chief Curator; Mr. Vivian Crawford, Executive Director of the Institute of Jamaica; Mrs. Patricia Attkisson, Publicity Affairs, US Embassy; and Dr. Angela Harvey, Department of Cultural Affairs, US Embassy.

The Gallery of Jamaica is the largest national gallery in the English-speaking Caribbean with a collection of approximately 1,700 works of art, most composed of wood, oil on canvas, or works on paper.

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