Conserving Maxo Vanka’s Murals

Vanka’s bold murals face age and conditions that naturally occur in an old church atop a hill.

In 2023, the conservation of the Vanka Murals continued with the support of a Save America’s Treasures Grant awarded by the Institute of Museum & Library Services and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The conservation team reached new heights concentrating their efforts on the first third of the high walls and ceiling of St. Nicholas. Today, the team is led by fine arts conservator Ana Alba and includes Patty Buss, Cindy Fiorini, Cricket Harbeck, Jessica Keister, Patty Huss West, Rhonda Wozniak and Kress Conservation Fellow Naomi Ruiz. Conservation technicians: Angelica Marks and Kate Pirilla.

Meet the Conservators.

Maxo Vanka’s murals have won the Save America’s Treasures grant

As of october 2023,
17 murals have been conserved.

Pieta Mural

2010: Pieta

MATI 1941

2011: Mati 1941

Croatian Mother Raises Her Son for War Mural

2011: Croatian Mother Raises her Son for War

Immigrant Mother Gives Her Sons for American Industry

2013: Immigrant Mother Raises her Sons for American Industry


2013: Injustice

Simple Family Meal mural

2013: Simple Family Meal


2014: Justice

Crucifixion Mural

2014: Crucifixion


2015: Prudence

The Capitalist Mural

2015: The Capitalist

Christ on the Battlefield Mural

2017: Christ on the Battlefield

Mary on the Battlefield Mural

2018: Mary on the Battlefield

Conservation of the Battlefield Scenes made by possible by: Snee Reinhardt Charitable
Foundation, Opportunity Fund and many generous individuals during the 2016 Pittsburgh Gives
Day of Giving.


2022: St. Francis and St. Clare

Conservation of St. Francis and St. Clare was completed in partnership with the Rivers of Steel Heritage Area. Funding was provided in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation, Environmental Stewardship Fund, administered by the Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation.

The grant was matched through the generosity of: Julia Bubanovich, Christie Clayton and Michael Burkitt, Marya and John Halderman (on behalf of the Vanka Family), Janet Kafka, John A. Martine, Melissa McSwigan and Robert Raczka, Jennifer Novotny Mulrooney, Rita Perstac, Julia Royall, and Barb Spelic.

2023: Phase I - Save America's Treasures

St. John Mural

2023: St John

Conservation in 2023 is being made possible in part by a Save America's Treasures Grant awarded by the Institute of Library & Museum Services in partnership with the National Park Service. The nearly $500,000 grant must be matched on or before August 2025 to ensure the completion of the murals on the high walls and ceiling and additional investments in long-term preservation.

St. Luke

2023: St Luke

2023 - Kress Conservation Fellowship - Vanka Murals & Carnegie Museum of Art

The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka is pleased to partner with the Carnegie Museum of Art to offer a one-of-a-kind Kress Conservation Fellowship. Naomi Ruiz was selected for the year-long fellowship splitting her time between conservation of the Vanka Murals and the Carnegie's conservation department.

New Testament Wall

2023: New Testament Wall

Coming Up – 2024

Transcendent Vision

Transcendent Vision mural
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