A Closer Look At The Kress Foundation's Art History and Conservation Fellowships

As we note in our funder profile on the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, while the New York-based outfit may lack a Mellon-sized endowment (how's that for an image?) it's nonetheless an important player in the field of art history and conversation. In the last few years, while Kress grant support has totalled roughly $3.5 million, the money has supported more than 137 grants. That's efficiency.

In fact, once you cast aside their varying endowments—Kress', by the way, is approximately $90 million—both funders have a lot in common, particularly in their mutual goal of transforming the field of art conservation into a respectable, viable, and well-paying career path for artistically inclined individuals.

Let's loop back to Mellon first. We recently looked at the foundation's $1 million challenge grant to provide University of Delaware Art Conservation graduate students with an increased stipend of $20,500 each. It also awarded a $1.75 million grant to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) for the creation of its Artist Initiative project, which incorporates living artists into its approach to art conservation and collections research.

And now comes news that Kress is flexing its curatorial muscles by using the university system as its starting point. Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art received a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation to support a Kress Interpretive Fellow. This one-year position, beginning in the fall of 2015, will allow the selected fellow to work with the Museum’s curatorial and education departments on a range of activities, with a primary focus on permanent collection works on paper and an emphasis on premodern holdings.

This is old hat for Kress. It also offers six pre-doctoral Kress Institutional Fellowships in the history of European art for a two-year research appointment in association with one of six foreign host institutions, and nine Kress Conservation Fellowships for one-year internships in advanced conservation at a museum or conservation facility.

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art-based fellowship is one of a minimum of six Interpretive Fellowships awarded each year to American art museums. Typically, Interpretive Fellowships begin in late summer or early fall. The fellowship award is $30,000, with a minimum of $25,000 reserved for the fellow’s stipend and up to $5,000 available to support health, travel and other benefits, and to defray the direct costs of hosting the fellow. A final report will be due from the host institution approximately one month after the completion of the fellowship.

For more information on Kress' art history and conservation fellowships click here.