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Conserving Maxo Vanka’s Murals

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

The preservation of the murals is being led by fine arts conservator Rikke Foulke. In 2022, the conservation team include conservators: Ana Alba, Patricia Buss, Cindy Fiorini, Cricket Harbeck, Jessica Keister, Patty Huss West and Rhonda Wozniak. Conservation technicians: Kate Pirilla and Aaron Regal.

Meet the Conservators.

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

As of summer 2022,
14 murals have been conserved.

Pieta Mural

2010: Pieta

Mati Mural

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

Injustice Mural

2013: Injustice

Simple Family Meal mural

2013: Simple Family Meal

Justice Mural

2014: Justice

Crucifixion Mural

2014: Crucifixion

Prudence Mural

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.

St. Francis mural

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.

St. Claire mural

Current Work

Phase II: High Walls and Ceiling Murals

Through the support of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Heinz Endowments, the Vanka Murals completed a Keystone Planning Grant in 2021 that defined the scope of Phase II of conservation: Old Testament, New Testament, the four Evangelists, Transcendent Vision and the Apostles flanking the main altar.

With a portion of the Save America’s Treasures grant dedicated to the conservation of these murals and other investments in long-term preservation of the Vanka Murals, the conservation team will return to the walls of St. Nicholas in 2023.

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