Northwestern University has announced a $3.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in support of the Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts, a collaborative partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago.
Established in 2013 with a $2.5 million grant from Mellon, the center offers cultural institutions new methods and technologies for investigating works of art that have been developed by conservation scientists at the university and Art Institute. The latest grant from the foundation includes $2.5 million to support the center's operations over five years and $1 million to match $2 million from other donors to endow a co-director's position.
The grant will enable the center to offer tools and expertise to institutions across the country, bolster its educational efforts, and fund Idea Labs, a new program designed to support collaborations among scientists and art conservators, historians, curators, and others who could benefit from exploring artistic objects through scientific analysis.
"The fundraising effort is an exciting part of the grant," said Marc Walton, the center's co-director and research professor of materials science and engineering in Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering. "The university is putting support and infrastructure into this goal because it sees value in work taking place at the intersection of art and science."
"I am particularly excited about the opportunity to host Idea Labs at the intersection of art and science, and I am grateful for the Mellon Foundation's visionary endowment challenge of the Northwestern co-directorship," said Francesca Casadio, the center's co-director and the Grainger Executive Director of Conservation and Science at the Art Institute. "This means a brighter future awaits for art research, the preservation of our material culture, and the training of a new generation of researchers that, in the tradition of Leonardo DaVinci, will not distinguish left or right brain when applying their ingenuity to advancing our understanding of the world around us."
(Photo credit: Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts)