Flint Institute of Arts (Flint, MI)


  Abstract image with jagged lines crisscrossing and subtle gradations of color

Detail from a glass mosaic mural by Edmund D. Lewandowski, Industrialization of Flint, discovered during the renovation of the Flint Institute of Arts's storage vault. Photo courtesy of Flint Institute of Arts

The Flint Institute of Arts (FIA) houses an invaluable collection of American art, representing major artists and artistic movements from the 16th to 21st centuries. Significant works - including those by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Martin Johnson Heade, Alexander Calder, and Romare Bearden - have been lent to museums around the country and the world. Additionally, the FIA holds comprehensive collections of Native American, African, and Asian art and artifacts. The museum also includes 40 paintings from the Chrysler/Garbisch collection of American art, which depicts rural American life between 1800 and 1870.


Registrar Mike Martin relocates part of the Flint Institute of Arts's collection to temporary storage vault during the renovation of their storage space, supported by a Save America's Treasures grant. Photo courtesy of Flint Institute of Arts

In FY 2003, the Flint Institute of Arts received a Save America's Treasures grant of $300,000 to preserve this collection. The federal Save America's Treasures program, begun in 1999 as a millennium initiative, addresses the urgent preservation needs of the nation's most significant historic sites and collections.

The FIA currently stores its collection in a basement art storage vault, which has proven detrimental to the artworks and artifacts. Ground water, corroded sewage pipes, outdated climate control systems, and space limitations threaten the safety of the collections, and the FIA intends to alleviate these problems by creating a ground-level storage facility.

With the grant, the FIA will restructure the first floor space to provide a 1,748 square foot art storage vault with climate control and security systems; firewalls and fire suppression system; and free standing cabinets, drawers, racks, and shelves for storage. The expanded vault is also necessary to house the more than 40 new acquisitions the FIA receives each year, as the current space has reached capacity. Slated for completion in 2005, the new storage vault will ensure that these treasures at the Flint Institute of Arts will be available for generations to come.

(From the 2003 NEA Annual Report)