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Venetian Heritage is a not-for-profit organization based in the United States, with offices in New York and Venice, and is part of the UNESCO Private Committees Program for the Safeguarding of Venice. The mission of Venetian Heritage is to encourage and support artistic and intellectual initiatives and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and Italy; to safeguard the Venetian cultural heritage as manifested in architecture, music, and the fine arts in the city itself and its former dominion; to sponsor exhibitions, lectures and conferences intended to stimulate a world-wide interest in the urgent and never-ending needs of Venice.
In these first eight years of its existence Venetian Heritage has accomplished a great deal, including the restoration of the façade of the Church of the Gesuiti, a magnificent example of early 18th century Baroque architecture; the Monument to Jacopo Foscarini (early 17th century) in the Church of the Carmini; two early 16th century polychromed and gilded wooden altars in the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta on the island of Torcello; the 15th century Monument to Admiral Vittore Cappello by Niccolò di Giovanni Fiorentino on the portal of the Church of Sant’Elena, and the façade of the Church of San Zaccaria, a most remarkable example of the Venetian early Renaissance, by Antonio Gambello and Mauro Codussi. This was a joint project with the Dutch Committee for Venice.
Venetian Heritage has also initiated an extensive restoration program outside of Venice, in lands once part of the Venetian domain. On the Dalmatian coast, in Croatia, Venetian Heritage financed the restoration of the Orsini Chapel of the 15th century in the Cathedral of St. Lawrence in Trogir (our work there received the European Union – Europa Nostra 2003 award for the best restoration of the year); the Venetian Gothic chapels in the Cathedral of St. Doimus, originally the Mausoleum of the Emperor Diocletian, in Split; also in the Cathedral of Trogir the narthex, the baptistry and the beautiful Romanesque portal built in 1240 by Master Radovan. The restoration of the Romanesque pulpit in the same Cathedral has just been completed.
Modern art has not been neglected. Venetian Heritage has recently financed the restoration of a number of paintings of the 1900s belonging to the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia. The recent collaboration between the two organizations is already very promising. It includes the restoration of an important collection of paintings by Galileo Chini and other artists of the 20th century belonging to the collection of ASAC (Archivio Storico delle Arti Contemporanee della Biennale di Venezia), exhibited at Palazzo Querini Dubois in Venice in September 2006 and the “Man Ray Photographic Image”, also belonging to ASAC, which was exhibited at the VBH Gallery in New York and in Luxembourg at the Espace Royal Monterey of the Fortis Banque.
In Turkey, Venetian Heritage provided for the conservation of the 14th century icon Panaghia Pausolypi. This icon is found in its original site in the main church of the Holy Trinity Monastery in the island of Halki (Istanbul). Finally, in Albania Venetian Heritage has underwritten a study of the four Venetian fortresses of Butrint and a book on Venetian Butrint. Aimed at fostering interest in Venetian art, Venetian Heritage has also organized and sponsored various exhibitions. In 2001 an important group of Renaissance and Baroque bronzes from the collection of Alexis Gregory was exhibited at the Israel Museum of Jerusalem, the Goulandris Foundation of Athens, and the Cini Foundation in Venice. During the same year, Venetian Heritage funded and coordinated the exhibition “Treasures of Croatia Restored by Venetian Heritage”, which consisted of objects, paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts from the Dalmatian coast.
Venetian Heritage has recently decided to finance the restoration of the portal of the Franciscan church in Dubrovnik and the Chapel of the Arca del Santo in Padova, the latter a joint project with the CARIPARO Foundation.