News June 2024

Photo courtesy

2024 Symposium recap from grant recipient Kimberly La Porte

June 27, 2024

Since receiving my masters degree in historic preservation in 2020, I have contributed to a number of preservation-related projects across both private and public sectors, at historic properties representing a variety of eras and styles. In my current role as a steward of the NYC Public Schools art collection, of which a significant percentage of artworks were created in the Modern period, I have the opportunity to collaborate with my colleagues and outside consultants to specifically consider the best practices for management of these distinctive assets that are fascinating not only for the caliber of artist that created them – including Costantino Nivola, Romare Bearden, and Charles Alston – but also as records of the material experimentation and architectural collaboration required to create public art at a monumental scale at this time in the history of cultural production.

Many of the themes and case studies presented at the 2024 Docomomo National Symposium resonated directly with the challenges and successes that I encounter professionally, but also with the questions I frequently think about on my own as I travel throughout the five boroughs of NYC and admire the modern buildings and artworks that anchor the public realm, particularly: how can I be a better advocate? Attending the Symposium in Miami with the generous support of the DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-state chapter was an enriching experience that provided a platform for me to learn from relevant case studies presented by local, national, and international speakers, as well as meet a wide network of preservation professionals with different specialties.

The opening keynote address by Rosa Lowinger emphasized the importance of preservation to community and memory, and whose practice in art conservation was the first of many familiar parallels I would encounter at the Symposium. Later, Ed FitzGerald of Jablonski Building Conservation, presented an interesting study of polychrome design achieved through modern architectural metals, while Caroline Dickensheets, of the RLA Miami studio, presented four case studies on the relocation of mosaics, including by the artist Jack Stewart, whose work is also seen on display in the NYC Public Schools collection. Beth Savage, of the GSA, and Kim Daileader, of EHT Traceries, recounted their experience in developing and applying assessment tools specifically for modern properties held at the federal level, providing useful insights into working with government stakeholders. Because of the grant provided by the DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-state chapter, I was also able to join a boat tour to see Miami Marine Stadium, followed by an engaging discussion led by Don Worth about the trajectory of the movement to restore and reactivate the site.

I left the Symposium in Miami with renewed energy and an excitement to share what I had heard and seen. Points of intersection between my experience and that of other professionals were abundant over the course of the week, and it was inspiring to learn from and celebrate the thoughtful, collaborative, and forward-thinking efforts to preserve modern visual culture that were presented. The 2024 Docomomo National Symposium provided the space for me to think critically about bridging my academic training, professional practice, and personal interests as I foster new connections and continue to grow in the field. I am grateful to have been selected to receive a grant from the DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-state chapter to attend the Symposium, and I look forward to continued participation in events organized by Docomomo.

Kimberly La Porte
Senior Management Specialist of Public Art for NYC Public Schools