Conservator Kate Wood of Alchemy Fine Art Restorers recently restored a theater backdrop at the Environmental Studies Center in Jensen Beach, Florida.  To fund this work, Alchemy was awarded a grant by Women Supporting the Arts (WSA) in conjunction with the Wilmington Trust.

Work in progress


This rewarding project was a challenge due to the fragile nature of the canvas mural. The hanging and lift systems were extremely corroded.  The canvas was stained and ripped, and the original artist had used water soluble poster paints in several places, which were now smeared and were a challenge to address. However,  these elements were successfully treated and the following repairs made:

  • Reinforced paint loss areas with acid free gesso on the reverse side of the canvas.
  • Created and installed a buffer for the sharp edge of the of the bottom roll bar. This will prevent future damage as the backdrop is raised.
  • Patched holes using new canvas and acid free glue. The top of the backdrop was reinforced with a long strip of canvas to repair and prevent tearing.
  • Replaced both sides of the rusted lift system wires with non-rusting, plastic coated heavy-duty wire.
  • Removed old hanging lumber and replaced with a single continuous bar.
  • Matched paint and touched up missing and dirty areas of paint.
  • Created a new secure hanging system and rehang the backdrop.

WSA’s mission is to build a community of women philanthropists who inspire, educate and encourage women to strengthen the arts and cultural environment in Martin County. The Environmental Resource Center is a valuable educational resource for the Treasure Coast. Alchemy’s restoration enhanced he Center, which builds environmental awareness among the students of Martin County. Alchemy Fine Art Restorers approaches restoration using the least invasive techniques possible.

Kate Wood has painted numerous murals and theater backgrounds in the Treasure Coast area. This canvas backdrop restoration project revisited those roots while also showcasing her world-class conservation skills. Kate has also taught oil painting to area students of all ages for two decades and is an accomplished artist.

Alchemy Fine Art Restorers thanks Women Supporting the Arts and Wilmington Trust for this grant and for the ongoing work both organizations do to better the arts in our local community!