The Cleveland Museum of Art has announced a $1.5 million gift from June and Simon K.C. Li to establish a Center for Chinese Paintings Conservation.
The gift will be matched by a $1.5 million endowment challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Li Center for Chinese Paintings Conservation aims to develop, educate, and expose conservators to best practices in the field. Through the Li Center, CMA will institute an annual endowed residency program for emerging conservators of Chinese paintings, in which participants will be able to further their studies in Cleveland and work on the most notable artworks in CMA's collection.
In 2014, CMA hired a conservator trained by the Freer and Sackler Galleries and recruited senior-level conservators from the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Shanghai Museum for extended periods to provide mentorship. To maintain a high level of training, CMA was awarded the Mellon Foundation challenge grant, which established an endowment to fund the position of Conservator of Chinese Paintings and a training program in the field of Chinese paintings conservation.
"Chinese paintings are a special strength of our collection," said CMA director William Griswold. "While these superb works occupy a critical place in Chinese art history, they also represent a major conservation challenge given the fragile nature of the materials used to create them. The shortage of qualified Chinese paintings conservators is a widespread dilemma faced by museums across the country. The generous gift by June and Simon K.C. Li and challenge grant from the Mellon Foundation will enable solutions that will affect great change in the industry and ensure the care of Chinese paintings for generations to come."