UT’s Newest Arts Professionals: Landmarks Preservation Guild

04 June 2015

The Landmarks Preservation Guild (LPG) is a group of a few dozen dedicated UT student volunteers who help maintain the university’s public art collection. Believed to be the only program of its kind, the LPG enriches the lives of students while beautifying the university campus.  

The current LPG volunteers represent many disciplines, including the School of Information, Architecture, and Art and Art History. They study preservation techniques and gain experience by practicing their skills on the public art collection. With the guidance of objects conservator Catherine Williams, they learn about the artist’s process and materials, monitor the condition of each object and submit routine condition reports. All of their training and activities are made possible by private donations.

Senior Kallie Kothmann has been with the guild for three years. She explains, “LPG helped me realize that conservation chemistry is something that really interests me. It also opened my eyes to all of the different types of preservation/conservation out there.”

Recent graduate Erin Coupal works with Catherine Williams as an intern to earn the 200 hours of fieldwork required for acceptance into graduate school. In Erin’s own words, “I am passionate about public art. I absolutely believe it has the power to transform communities and provide opportunities for learning and engagement that cannot be found elsewhere.”

A girl with a ponytail and blue gloves kneels next to an outdoor sculpture
Kallie Kothmann prepares materials to clean Anthony Caro's Veguggio GlimpsePhoto by Jamie Levine.

LPG alumni are gaining admission into reputable graduate schools across the country to study conservation. A recent graduate of NYU’s Conservation Center, Desirae Peters was one of the guild’s first members. In the fall, she will return to Texas as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Painting Conservation at the Menil Collection in Houston. Peters explains why she joined the LPG, “I had been working in paper conservation at the Harry Ransom Center and I was eager to try the very different, 3-D world of outdoor sculpture conservation. I loved working outdoors and Catherine [Williams] was such a knowledgeable and fun mentor.”

A girl in a black shirt looks at an outdoor sculpture
Erin Coupal restores lost paint on Kingfish by Peter Reginato. Photo by Jamie Levine.

Through the Preservation Guild, Landmarks offers students an extraordinary way to gain professional knowledge and experience while contributing to our community. Landmarks is proud to be a part of their journey and thankful for the generous donations that have made these successes possible. 

Help provide meaningful experiences to students in conservation by making a gift today. Your support not only makes the campus a more beautiful place, but it also helps educate a new generation of arts professionals.