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Protecting An Artistic Heritage

Vero Beach Museum of Art conservator James Liccione brings artwork back to life.

Museum Conservator Jim Liccione (left) and Chief Preparator Matt Mangold remove the Hanneka Beaumont sculpture “Bronze #56” from the South Park of the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

Museum Conservator Jim Liccione (left) and Chief Preparator Matt Mangold remove the Hanneka Beaumont sculpture “Bronze #56” from the South Park of the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

Every piece of art at the Vero Beach Museum of Art – hanging on its walls, free standing in its galleries and sculpture parks, or stored in the vault – is constantly monitored for changes. Environmental elements, even those as benign as controlled artificial light, can affect a work of art. Add factors characteristic of Vero Beach’s weather and the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean and the demands of maintaining valuable artwork in pristine condition present a multitude of challenges. 

Yet meeting these demands is just what the museum pledges to do. According to Executive Director Lucinda Gedeon, “Caring for our permanent collection is paramount. When we buy or are given a work of art, it is done with great deliberation and according to policies and procedures. We hold it in the public trust, and it is our responsibility to protect and maintain it.” 

The heavy lifting – both literally and figuratively – for preserving the museum’s sculptures goes to Museum Conservator James Liccione. This soft-spoken and humble man brings to the position the knowledge of a metallurgist, the vision of an artist and the skill of a welder. On the rare occasions when a painting or work on paper needs restorative work, it is sent to a specialist in either Palm Beach or Miami. But conservation of all the metal and wood artwork comes under Liccione’s purview.

Read the entire article in the March 2016 issue