By Timothy P. Whalen

It has been over a year since I last discussed the Institute’s work in these pages, and I want to take this opportunity to update you on our progress.

There are several significant staff changes that I’m delighted to announce. Jeanne Marie Teutonico has been named associate director for Field Projects and Conservation Science. This appointment should help us integrate the work of these two groups in a way that strengthens our contributions to the field. I am also pleased that François LeBlanc—chief architect at the National Capital Commission in Ottawa, Canada—will join us as head of Field Projects. We are honored to have him lead this important program.

Since I arrived at the GCI two years ago, we have assessed our strengths, focused our work to complement that of the Getty Trust, and consolidated our activities in our traditional areas of expertise. Ultimately, our raison d’être is to serve the field of conservation by providing tools and resources for those responsible for the care and conservation of art, architecture, and archaeology. To do that, we are organized into four groups: Conservation Science, Field Projects, Education, and Information and Communications. Each group includes highly dedicated staff who work with a wide array of institutional partners and colleagues—and with our conservation colleagues in the other Getty programs.

We will soon name a head for the Education Group, which is quickly taking shape. I’m pleased with the response to the GCI’s new visiting scholars program, which offers an opportunity for conservation professionals to examine important questions, freed from the grind of practice, lab, and field. The Education Group will contribute essential resources to individuals and institutions that teach conservation, in part by publishing important readings in conservation as well as translations of significant works. We will continue to work closely with the conservation training programs to examine ways that the teaching of conservation professionals can be advanced.

During this last year, we had some notable accomplishments, including the Second Pan-American Course on the Conservation and Management of Earthen Architectural and Archaeological Heritage, held in Peru. This summer saw the completion of the conservation of The Last Judgment, the 14th-century glass mosaic that is one of the Czech Republic’s most significant cultural treasures. During this year, the GCI—in collaboration with colleagues inside and outside the Getty—continued conducting scientific research that has made strides in addressing questions regarding gels cleaning systems. Several projects involving the conservation and management of sites are ongoing in Central America, the Mediterranean, and China.

In the year ahead, we have a meeting planned in Spain on retablo conservation and a workshop scheduled for Brazil on building-related aspects of environmental management. We will begin research with our partners at the Image Permanence Institute—and at the Centre de recherche sur la conservation des documents graphiques in Paris—on the conservation of photographic collections. And we’ll explore research needs related to the conservation of modern and contemporary art, in collaboration with a number of major art museums.

Art and Archaeology Technical Abstracts (AATA) is being strengthened, and within 18 months we will launch it as a Web-based resource, in partnership with our colleagues at the IIC. As we expand its coverage and make it more accessible and comprehensive, we are grateful for the tireless efforts of AATA’s technical editors and volunteer abstractors, without whom the publication would not exist.

Locally, we are working with the City of Los Angeles on the conservation and presentation of the David Alfaro Siqueiros mural América Tropical. We have a generous partner in our local support group, Friends of Heritage Preservation, and we anticipate—pending city approvals—that the mural will be accessible to the public in 2002.

I hope you’ll visit the Getty’s newly launched Web site: http://www.getty.edu. It incorporates all the Getty Trust’s activities, including descriptions of the GCI’s work and a range of conservation resources. Please let us know what you think of the conservation components of the site by writing us at: gciweb@getty.edu.

Because the needs of the conservation field are vast, no single organization can provide all the resources and solutions necessary to address them. I expect, however, that anything the Institute pursues will broadly serve the conservation community, in part because we work with conservation organizations and professionals around the world who offer skill and expertise that complements our own. I’m grateful to our partners—and to the staff of the GCI—for the commitment and talent they bring to advancing conservation worldwide. Please accept my best wishes for the holidays and for peace in the new year for you and your family.