Restoring old painted stage curtain


Mar 2, 2006
Clarion Pennsylvania
A local arts/theater group is restoring small town theater and called for help. They found an original painted curtain (about 16'hiX 24"wide) that they would like to preserve. It was painted on a light cotton canvas of sewn panels, with what appears to be casein. The paint is brittle by largely intact but is flaking at the edges, and there are a few
patchable tears. Of course they have nearly no money to deal with the project, and I haven't the skills or time to take it on. My suggestion at this point is that they roll it up in cotton sheeting and put it in a dry place until they know what to do next and how to pay for it. Does anyone have other suggestions for preserving/cleaning/repairing it. The value is more sentimental for the community than it is historical, and we might recruit local labor to work on it if that is an option.
what he said, and start applying for grants or having fundraisers to get it restored at a conservator.

The local conservator here restored an old mural that spanned a whole wall at an Inn that was being restored. Well worth it, but I'm sure it was costly.
Good advice, Elaine.

I served on the IL Arts Council for a few years and was on the committee to critique applications for fine arts grants for various groups and individuals. We had a list of criteria and an application for the grants which we would mail out to those who requested them. The packet outlined who or what was eligible for a grant through the program, a list of criteria to follow when applying for the grants, how to apply for the grants, and when to apply.

Part of the job of the committee I served on was to read each grant, decide how closely it followed the parameters laid out for qualifying for the grant, and to decide if the funding requested was in line with the proposed cost of the project to which the grant was to be applied.

If PA has a similar group in the arts field, it should be easy to find out some information through a local college or through the state funding agency in Harrisburg. If they are a bonafide not for profit agency/group they should have no problem applying for one of these grants as they are usually issued for those projects that have a direct impact on the welfare of the community or group of people, ie., senior citizens or school groups or local acting groups, who would benefit from the project.

Good luck in your quest.