Chief Conservator Irena Calinescu founded Fine Arts Conservation LLC in 1998. She holds a BA in Art History from Indiana University and an MA and Certificate of Advanced Studies in Art Conservation from SUNY Buffalo State College with a specialization in objects conservation. After an advanced internship in Antiquities Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum, she completed a three-year NEA/Mellon Fellowship in Objects Conservation at the LA County Museum of Art. She has also worked at the UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, as field conservator at the excavation in Mochlos, Crete, and continues as a contract conservator for both public and private museums in Southern California and beyond, including: MOCA, the Natural History Museum of LA County, LACMA, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, USC-Pacific Asia Museum, the Japanese American National Museum, Eskenazi Museum (formerly IU Art Museum), and the Robert V. Fullerton Museum of Art at CSU San Bernardino, among others. Irena has nearly 30 years of experience with a wide variety of sculptural materials from ancient to contemporary and has conducted numerous collections surveys and risk assessments for institutions. She is a Professional Associate of American Institute for Conservation.
Abby Duckor is our new Associate Conservator, joining Fine Arts Conservation in 2021. She attended the State University of New York at New Paltz where she received her B.A. in Art History in 2011. She received her M.A. in Principles of Conservation in 2014 and M.Sc. in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums in 2016 from University College London. During her studies she interned at the Oxford University Natural History Museum and Glasgow Museums. She also worked for the Olduvai Geochronology Project excavation in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. After graduating, Abby joined the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as their Andrew W. Mellon Fellow for Objects Conservation. She continued there as an Associate Objects Conservator where she was able to focus on Light-Based Sculpture and Time- Based Media conservation. Abby continues to work at LACMA as an Associate Project Conservator.
Stefani is our Assistant Conservator, joining Fine Arts Conservation in 2019. She attended the University of California, Riverside, where she received her B.S in Anthropology and a B.A in History. She received her M.A in Principles of Conservation in 2016 and M.S in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums in 2018 from University College London (UCL). Stefani has interned at the Bowers Museum, Oxford University Natural History Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum. Stefani has volunteered at the Whittier Museum, Museum of London Docklands, UCL Special Collections, and the Battleship USS Iowa Museum. Before joining our team, Stefani spent some time working at the Petersen Automotive Museum, assisting their education department.
Mayra is our second Assistant Conservator, working at Fine Arts Conservation since 2016. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she received her B.A. in Art History and a minor in Classical Civilization in 2011. She received her M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Claremont Graduate University in 2016. Mayra has worked on objects for the past 4 years, but has also helped Painting and Paper Conservators in the Los Angeles area including: May & Burch Conservation, The Conservator’s Easel, and Margot Healey Paper Conservation. Aside from conservation, Mayra is also an active artist, exhibiting her paintings in the LA County area. Her most recent show was in February 2021 at the Progress Gallery in Pomona, California.
Elisse is our current pre-program intern, joining Fine Arts Conservation in 2020. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she received her B.A. in Art History in 2015. She has had internships with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, The Conservator's Easel, and has volunteered in Manuscript Conservation at The J. Paul Getty Museum. Elisse is very interested in Preventative Conservation and community outreach. For the past 6 years, she has served as a volunteer at the Ojai Valley Museum, providing staff with critical information regarding best conservation practices. In August 2021, Elisse will be starting her first year of conservation school, at the Garman Art Conservation Department at SUNY State College.