PreserVenice: Preserving Venetian Public Art

YEAR: 2007 | TERM: B


Public Art


Amanda Lee Kent; Rebecca Lynne Kieselbach; Kyle Hathaway Miller; Ryan David Sottolano; Steven Richard Vessella


Kristen Billiar

The purpose of this project was to preserve Venetian public art, a diverse collection of artifacts that is as unique as the city itself. Examining the data collected by prior IQP groups, we agreed on a definition of “public art” that included not only decorative pieces but also structural and functional ones. Our next task was to incorporate missing objects into the database. We systematically searched every public street on the lagoon islands of Burano, Mazzorbo, Murano and Torcello, recording condition data for the pieces found and updating the database with the new information. The result, combined with previous work, was a database of 4376 objects that we considered to be public art. We then ran a new condition analysis algorithm we devised on the entire collection to determine the 50 pieces in most need of restoration. We laid the groundwork for a nonprofit organization, PreserVenice, dedicated to maintaining the entire collection. PreserVenice, once active, will be responsible for managing the information that has been collected over the years, collaborating with existing conservation groups, acting as an intermediary between donors and restorers, and above all, making public art restoration actually happen. We also adapted information about public art into two publications, one a chapter in an anthology about the Venice Project Center’s 20th anniversary, and the other a brochure to be used as promotional material for PreserVenice. The latter is also accompanied by a website, postcards, and other similar items.