Did you ever stop to consider all that has to be done behind-the-scenes to prepare an art exhibit featuring work from ancient or medieval times? After reading about Amaris Sturm (SSDS ‘06), an art conservator, you will have a new perspective next time you visit an art or history museum.
Following Schechter, Amaris attended Niles North, where she furthered her passion that was ignited at Schechter for art, history, and science. She was fortunate to meet someone who worked in museums and encouraged her to explore becoming a conservator. This field combines art history and science and requires the manual dexterity and appreciation of an artist.
Amaris applied to the University of Delaware, one of the few schools in the country with specialized undergraduate and graduate programs in art conservation. She found the programs to be very engaging and said she loved the fact that every project presented new challenges to solve.
Amaris graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts with double majors in Art Conservation and Art History and minors in Art and Material Culture Studies. She earned a Masters in Science in Art Conservation also from the University of Delaware this past August. She recently started a three-year Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Objects Conservation at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), where she works to conserve the 3D artworks and artifacts at the museum.
Her internships in college and graduate school took her to Okinawa, Japan at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, and to Sudan, where she did archeological conservation work with the University of Michigan archeological team at El-Kurru, an ancient cemetery for Kushite royalty and rulers. There she treated large sandstone columns in the site’s funerary temple and documented the site’s only remaining pyramid.
Her most recent project at the CMA is treating a nine foot tall stone Krishna sculpture from Cambodia. Broken into many fragments, the sculpture was reconstructed in the 70s. After the recent discovery of an additional fragment, the sculpture is being taken apart and put back together to include the new piece. Since conservation has advanced since the 1970s, there are new materials and techniques to explore that are safer for the object and more conservation friendly. In the coming months Amaris will be working alongside other conservators, engineers, and mount makers to treat the sculpture, allowing for its preservation and future display.
Looking back on her time at Schechter, Amaris fondly recalls the strong sense of community. She remembers teachers who were both supportive and encouraging, especially in 5th – 8th grade. “I had teachers who encouraged me to challenge myself and gently pushed me to strive for bigger goals,” she said. “That helped prepare me for the challenges of high school, college and beyond.”
“My teachers also helped me develop an appreciation for learning and working towards my goals,” she added. “Miss Graves, my Sager math teacher, and Mrs. Rushakoff, my language arts teacher, stand out in my mind because they both helped me develop a strong work ethic. Mrs. Rushakoff also helped me learn to love reading.”
Amaris’ sister, Laura (SSDS ‘04), is currently teaching English in Vietnam. She has been there for almost a year.
Amaris’ and Laura’s mom, Millie Cave, worked in the school office at the Skokie School for many years. She continues to assist with special projects from her home in Ohio.