Bringing Street Murals Back to Life

National Internet Radio Guest: Scott Haskins

Director and Chief Conservator,

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories

Top of Mind


Julie Rose

Broadcast Journalist and Interviewer



Colorful street art seems to have taken on new life thanks to Instagram. Tourists will make a special pilgrimage to an out-of-the-way spot just to get that perfect photo in front of an artsy mural. Scott Haskins is the guy cities call when graffiti, pollution or weather damage an iconic street mural. Recently his team has been restoring famous art along Los Angeles free ways that have all but disappeared beneath graffiti.

Julie Rose is a seasoned broadcast journalist and interviewer. Over the course of her broadcast career in both Utah and North Carolina, Rose produced spots and feature news stories for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Leading up to her time at BYU Radio, she worked as a regional reporter for political, social and economic stories in North and South Carolina at WFAE Public Radio, Charlotte. She’s a recipient of two National Edward R. Murrow Awards for Radio Writing and also the winner of multiple regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for continuing coverage, hard news reporting, writing, use of sound, features and other categories. Rose originally received her BA from BYU in Communications.


Julie Rose interviews Scott M. Haskins – Audio Only – (the program says, “Hong Kong, Carnival Safety, Vaccine Hesitancy” but click on the play button and it will be the correct program)

 (20 minutes)

Interview as voice over slide show video (20 minutes)


Click Here for Video

Scott M. Haskins graduated in 1978 from the Italian government  (Lombardy Region – ENAIP) 3 year master’s degree level painting conservation program run in conjunction with the Istituto Centrale del Restauro (ICR) in Rome.

Between 1978 and 1984 Mr. Haskins established the painting conservation laboratory at Brigham Young University, in Utah, which also served the historical collection of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During the time period, other institutions served were the International Museum of Pioneers – Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Son’s of Utah Pioneers, The Springville Art Museum and many private collectors.

In 1984, Mr. Haskins began private practice in Santa Barbara, CA where he provides painting conservation services over a wide geographical region. He is recognized and well known nationwide and internationally for his art conservation work on murals. He also consults on damaged art issues as an expert witness for the courts and for insurance companies, nationwide.


He is the author of the best selling book, How To Save Your Stuff From A Disaster, a home collection care manual for collectibles, memorabilia and family history. His new book, Save Your Stuff in the Workplace addresses similar issues in the corporate and government office environment as it relates to business continuity and HR outreach. He is also the author of several blogs.

For a news article featuring Scott M. Haskins’s, Click here:


Past clients and work in Utah

What People Are Saying About FACL’s Services

(see video testimonials at end of list)

“I am working primarily on mural projects these days. You are truly an inspiration in our field! Thanks Scott for your videos! ( “bestartdoc”) Deborah Uhl, Mural Conservator, Colorado

“The monies spent for your (art conservation assessment) services are the best money we ever spent.” Wendy Adair, VP of University Achievement, Texas Southern University, TSU), Houston, Texas

“Scott, you may be the best conservator I know in the country. I have enjoyed working with you more than I can express.” Perry Huston, Past AIC President, Dallas, Texas  and

“This was a very politically charged project in the City of San Francisco for over 10 years. We needed someone beyond reproach that we could count on to “knock the ball out of the park.” That’s why we chose Scott Haskins and FACL. Mr. Al Albano, Consultant, Piazzoni Mural Project, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

“Dear Scott & FACL, Inc. Staff, YOU ARE ALL THE BEST!!!! The painting looked GREAT and I’m happy. I look forward to working more with you! My very best,” Dennis Marchesi, Marchesi & Co., Las Vegas, NV

“Scott, you provided the exact services we needed and did a wonderful job. We look forward to a good working relationship with FACL into the future.” Brent G. Thompson, Preservation Director History Department, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, SLC, UT.

“Thank you for the excellent service and over the top quality workmanship for the conservation of our damaged items. I appreciate your timely response and I am 100% pleased with the results and services provided by FACL.” Insurance claim by Lucinda Bliss, Insured with Chartis Insurance Co.(aka AIG)

“We would have been in big trouble and you made our navigation through the City (Dallas) and with the project’s architects streamlined and professional. Your quality services and reputation were cemented in our minds when we heard the inspector say they didn’t need to inspect your work for final quality – un heard of in our industry!” Tim Storms , Roberts-Obrien Construction, General Contractor, Dallas, TX


“Scott enabled our settlement to be acceptable to both the Dept. of Labor and the artist, Kent Twitchell. His expertise and professionalism proved invaluable.” Steven Schwartz, attorney for Dept. of Labor, Public art suit. Los Angeles, CA

“Scott, you (FACL) met my expectations, which was a perfect job. My absolute confidence in your work was absolutely confirmed. Thanks so much.” Jay Friedman, Santa Barbara, CA

“I am speechless! Its magic the work that you perform. You took my much abused painting and brought her back to the original glory. The cracks are gone, the missing pieces are invisible, the inpainting is perfect, the varnish exactly right. You’re the best!” Kurt Meisenbach, Los Angeles, CA

“Scott and FACL, Inc. team: We, at MCLA are extremely grateful about the restoration of Jim Morphesis Monument!  I am happy beyond words. You have done an amazing job! Thank you!” Isabel Rojas-Williams, Executive Director, Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA)

Scott, I am blown away by the expertise and abilities of your lab! We searched very carefully for just the right person whose reputation was professionally excellent before we decided on your services. But, we could have never hoped for such an amazing and wonderful outcome on our previously abused Grandville Redmond poppy painting.  I could go on and on… Thank you SO MUCH for this wonderful gift!

Marla Roberts, Oakland, CA



Video testimonials on YouTube

Bestartdoc” channel


Fred Page, Appraiser, Insurance Claims Expert

Charles Bonner, Attorney, San Francisco

George Stern,  Art Dealer, West Hollywood, CA

Katherine Francis, Framer, Venice Beach, CA

Greg Colley, Collector, Art Dealer in Glendale, CA:


Jerry Solomon, Framer in Los Angeles, CA:



Top of Mind


Julie Rose

Broadcast Journalist

and Interviewer


How Much Does It Cost To Clean A Painting?


A quick example of why we have to do cleaning tests to determine the cost. Educational preservation and restoration blog for people who like museums, history, traveling, period films Click on SHOW MORE

In this video are Oriana Montemurro from Turin, Italy; Virginia Panizzon from Brescia, Italy. Narrated by Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation. Call us if you would like to discuss questions 805 564 3438.

We also visit personally, do pick up and delivery, consult throughout the Los Angeles Area:

Orange County:

Las Vegas:

Salt Lake City:

Santa Barbara, Ventura, Thousand Oaks:

Treasures in a Pile of Stuff Las Vegas, Art Restoration Testimonial


See what valuable collectibles I found in a pile of stuff! Short art restoration testimonial from Las Vegas collector.

Besides the unexpected treasures, I also found neglect and bad judgement of packers and shippers. Something to watch out for if you are hiring, moving, storing collectibles etc. Short art restoration testimonial from Las Vegas collector.

Talk to us about the care of your treasured family heirlooms! Art Conservators Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon, Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

#collectibles #shippingdamage #Art restoration #Artconservation #PaintingConservation #PaintingRestoration #BarbizonArt #ScottMHaskins

3 Super Interesting Preservation and Restoration Mural Projects Stopping Flaking Paint

I blogged in January about two murals that we worked on that had a special social message to tell. One is on the Army base in El Paso, Texas and the other is in Houston.  The only thing that really connected them to me was their problem of flaking.


The worst flaking I’ve ever seen on a work of art.

In El Paso, Texas you can clearly see Juarez, Mexico on the other side of the freeway… besides the drama of the wall, Juarez’s reputation for lack of law and order are famous and its very interesting to imagine all that goes on over and around that border. Adding to that “vibe” we were feeling was the purpose of our work in El Paso; our mural on the Army Base, Fort Bliss, by World War II prisoner of war, Austrian Crpl Rudolph von Ripper in 1943 entitled “One Nation Indivisible With Liberty and Justice For All” an ideal to be held in the heart of every generation. His perspective was, in part, a product of his hate for the Nazis who had forced him into military service (and his gratitude to be a POW).

Interestingly, the cause of the flaking was magnified significantly by the fact that the mural, at some point about 50 years ago, had a wall built in front of it sealing it in, in order to preserve it against being painted out or…?

Then, un heated/un airconditioned the encasing of the mural resulted in extreme elevated microclimate swings in temperature and humidity when the building was not in use by the military.

The main problem with flaking on murals is that there is always many many more detachments than you can see, called in our industry “blind cleavage.” This mural required out of the box problem solving to preserve the WPA period paint.

The solution was a combination of things; the use of a combination of both low molecular weight and standard use solvent based conservation quality acrylic resins for penetrating consolidation, water based conservation quality acrylic gels in different consistencies, various types of very thin tissues, small brushes, spray equipment, hand irons for setting the flakes once we got the adhesives to penetrate… all these efforts from the hands and minds of 3 experienced art conservators and technicians. It was involved, but successful.


A Very Moving Social Message


Persistent mold growth from Hurricane Harvey

This amazing public art, “The Contribution of Negro Women in American Life and Education” By John Biggers, painted in the South in 1953, addresses the several, then, unpopular themes of women’s rights, equality of rights for all races including access to public education, freedom of speech, land ownership. This mural is, of course, a heartfelt plea for African American women but was equally applicable for all women of all races.

More than just a decoration, this mural represents the community’s heritage, a legacy and teaching tool for future generations. It’s a memory trigger, to retell history and personal experiences. Its importance to the community in which it was places is huge, but it’s a visual anchor for the State of Texas and the entire nation. Indeed, this artwork is a National Treasure.


While the most apparent problem of preservation was the mold, the detachment of the adulterated oil paint from the “plaster” wall was very worrisome given the spongy consistency after the exposure to water.

Once again, like the mural in El Paso, the blind cleavage gave the art conservators reasons to go back over the surface of the mural again and again and again. The technique to setting the original paint layers was, with some variations, the same as Von Ripper’s mural. #JohnBiggers  @BlueTriangleCommunityCenter


The most impressive movie star’s estate ever created

“The Gilded Age”

The Greenacres Mansion, also known as Harold Lloyd Estate, is located in the Benedict Canyon section of Beverly Hills, California. Built in the late 1920s by silent film star Harold Lloyd, it remained Lloyd’s home until his death in 1971. The 45,000 sq. ft estate originally consisted of a 44-room mansion, golf course, outbuildings, and 900-foot (270 m) canoe run on 15 acres (61,000 m2). Greenacres has been called “the most impressive movie star’s estate ever created.”

After Lloyd died, the acreage in the lower part of the estate along Benedict Canyon was subdivided into approximately 14 large home lots. The mansion, on top of its own hill, retained approximately 5 original acres of flat land. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Our interest in this estate is centered on a 1000 sq ft atrium living room called the “Orangerie.” Gorgeously decorated with high quality painted ceiling murals in 1927 and looking out into the gardens, it was a place of soulful relaxation.


The Orangerie ceiling murals in the 45,000 sq ft home

Click here for a short video of the work (Like it and leave a comment)

Unfortunately, a second floor bathroom flooded and water soaked into the plaster of the Orangerie ceiling and set into motion massive flaking. To underline how difficult it is for a contractor type person to understand what is required to confront the dynamics of interlayer cleavage of paint layers, this ceiling mural’s flaking paint was treated previously 3 times unsuccessfully… and not even addressing the fine white mold covering 80% of the murals!

So, in this case, not only was the flaking a problem, but the previously botched attempts made the work more problematic… to the tune of about 30% more expensive per sq. ft.

#HaroldLloydEstate  #GreenAcres

So, 3 very interesting historic preservation projects that you would never see as a tourist. And maybe you know something new about flaking paint too!! Stay in touch for interesting places, stories and adventures. In fact, there are some major projects coming “down the pipe”… like, saving “The Biggest Mural In The World?!?!”

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Peace out!

For questions, reach out to us. We are happy to chat: Scott M. Haskins, Oriana Montemurro, Viginia Panizzon 805 564 3438

#muralconservation  #ScottHaskins   #artrestoration   #muralrestoration   #artconservation  #HistoricPreservation  #Orangerie

Should Art Conservation Be a Demonstration Exhibit In Public?

Introduction by Sharra Grow, Editor for the International Institute for Conservation (IIC)


This past November, Apollo published the article “Should paintings be conserved in public?” written by Conservator Ian McClure and Curator Paul Taylor. The authors called into question the overall worth of such public displays of conservation suggesting that, rather than inspiring on-lookers, the main message the visiting public receives is that conservation work is tedious and boring. And while trying to show the candid daily work of the conservator, what visitors actually see is still carefully choreographed.

Public conservation projects are believed by many to allow works of art (especially public favorites) to remain on display. But is it worth the effort when they are obstructed by conservators and equipment, unflattering lighting, and other such eyesores?

Taylor argues that public conservation treatments have been used as a way to declare professional transparency, holding conservators accountable for their actions. But he counters that this is not a valid reason for conducting public treatments as it is not a proper form of peer review. So, is public conservation worth the extra time, effort, and stress, or is a simple blog post, for instance, just as effective?

Below are the thoughtful responses of some renowned conservators known for their expertise in public conservation and advocacy. Do you have thoughts and ideas you want to share? Contact NiC Editor Sharra Grow

By Scott Haskins

The Apollo article, “Should paintings be conserved in public?” made some good points; as Ian McClure mentioned, what is actually gained other than a performance curiosity?

General interest, seeing the conservation lab equipment, giving art conservators a chance to interact with the public (risky perhaps?) are all good, but working on well-known works of art in public gives people a feeling that they have made a “special sighting,” perhaps something worth posting on social media. It gives them something to tell their friends and family. Does the museum want to stoke the fire of visitors story-telling about their day at the museum? Promotion of a museum and its purposes is not a bad thing, and social media can help fan that fire. So, give the public something interesting or even famous to “discover.” Add to that some calculated drama and special stories, and the awareness can help fundraise or get new members.

I enjoyed 15 minutes of peering through a window at the Natural History Museum of Utah display lab for the conservation of a T-Rex skull last year. It was interesting to hear the visitor comments… all good. Perhaps the quality of the item being worked on helps to hold people at the window. I told a bunch of people what I saw and enthusiastically recommended to my family in the area to put this museum visit on their to-do list.

The two purposes of collection items being conserved in public, I think, are the opportunity to tell stories and, of course, to educate… but that’s all about telling stories again. Stories are what hold people to a blog post. Interesting stories help people watch a video through to the end. Stories are what captivate imagination. Interesting stories get retold. I think that is what the museum needs to do with art conservators on display.

Just setting the art conservators to work behind glass on any old thing, I’m guessing, will not have much impact. But if the chance for the public to get a special behind-the-scenes look is enhanced with videos, photos, comparisons, or scientific data on display, there will be much more to vary the experience for visitors. Is the presented information and display leading or introducing the visitor to somewhere else to go in the collection—another display perhaps, to view more rare and special objects?

Is this kind of display sort of like the zoo? How long can you watch a lion sleep? Art conservation, as it was pointed out, can be a slow, boring process. But if the museum has fun with it, this type of public awareness can be kind of a grass roots approach to PR.

Scott Haskins

Owner, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories

Fine Art Conservator, Consultant, Mentor, Author

By Valeria Merlini and Daniela Storti

To publicly restore a work of art is a cultural and human experience that leaves a profound mark on everyone—on those who carry out the restoration and those who witness it. A public, on-site restoration is an extraordinary opportunity for exchange between the restorers of the work of art and the public who, if the project is done properly, participates with interest and enthusiasm. During our first experience of this kind in 1999, when we restored The Pilgrim’s Madonna by Caravaggio inside the Sant’Agostino Basilica in Rome (where it is still located today), this public format was still very new and innovative but immediately proved a success, drawing attention to our work and informing the public of the importance of our field. By restoring the painting on site, we achieved our goal of making sure the painting remained accessible to both churchgoers and art enthusiasts, allowing the public to follow our work in all of its phases; we built a glass scaffolding, set up a weekly appointment to answer visitor questions, and provided the public with real-time scientific and technical data.

Over the next few years we carried out similar projects, like the restoration of the Santa Maria dell’Anima Church’s altar piece by Giulio Romano in 2008, and the Adoration of the Shepherds by Caravaggio in 2010. These treatments were carried out in ground-level spaces that were visible to passersby, made possible by Italy’s Chamber of Deputies. In both cases the public could ask the restorers questions as they worked, and all phases of the restoration were filmed and edited into a short video which was displayed on a screen allowing visitors the opportunity to see and understand all the phases of the restoration up to that point.

The experience that moved us the most was the 2015 restoration of the majestic work by 17th-century master Luca Giordano, Christ Among the Doctors, from Rome’s National Gallery of Antique Art in Palazzo Corsini. We restored this work inside the auditorium of a public high school before the eyes of the students. For four exciting months the students had access to the laboratory throughout the school day, allowing them to follow the conservation process independently or with the guidance of their teachers, giving them a first-hand understanding of the technical complexities of our profession.

To publicly restore a work of art certainly requires greater mental effort than that required for a restoration done privately in a laboratory, and in order to properly execute it one must be suited to work in an atypical environment and have good communication skills. Based on our experience, sharing this side of the art world with people outside our field changes the dynamic between the public and those extraordinary artistic works created by masters.

Inevitably in Italy, like in the rest of the world, museums and galleries gather together numerous priceless masterpieces (sometimes to the detriment of their individual peculiarities) limiting their ability to be understood properly because of the issues that arise from bringing together so many different artworks; the challenge of properly lighting individual paintings; the loss of context when artworks are taken out of their original location or purpose; or simply the fact that, for security reasons, visitors have to stand at a significant distance. Moreover, it is important to point out that in the last twenty years, thanks to technology, art is much more accessible with many images at viewers’ fingertips. This change, however, has caused some confusion over the artisanal value of artworks which have increasingly become—especially among younger generations—simply images.
The role of the restorer is to take care of the physical materials of which the artwork is made—taking care of its structure rather than just its image—as this is the only way we can actually guarantee its survival through time.

To put the public in direct contact with the aspects that make a work of art unique, urging the comprehension of its artisanal value—the materials, the techniques—over the course of the conservation process, provides an understanding that would be hard for the public to get anywhere else.

While our job is very complex and requires extensive knowledge and knowhow, it’s very easy to explain and narrate. For too much time restoration has been interpreted as a mix of manual abilities and alchemical tricks carried out behind closed doors in inaccessible laboratories with artworks entering wrapped up and reemerging bright and shiny, like new, often arousing intense debates. Sharing with the public what goes on inside restoration labs is healthy and central to preserving interest in our shared cultural heritage. Making this a public experience ensures that art conservation will always be carried out with a clear scientific approach.

For these reasons our team has recently decided to open our studio, where we carry out most of our work, precisely because we are convinced that sharing our marvelous work is almost as exciting as performing it.

Valeria Merlini and Daniela Storti

Owners and Head Conservators

Merlini Storti Art Restoration and Conservation, Rome

Analysis of Art Exhibition at Cal Lutheran University


Art conservation knowledge, connoisseurship research and technology were highlighted for an art research and authentication exhibition that was well received. See the blog post at Click on SHOW MORE

Rachel T. Schmid, Cal Lutheran University, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, 60 West Olsen Road #1700 | Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 Phone: (805) 493-3697 | Fax: (805) 493-3831

Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation, Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, 805 564 3438, Also ask for art conservators Oriana Montemurro, Virginia Panizzon

Saving An Iconic Mural by The Most Famous Historic African American Artist, Dr John Biggers (1953)

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories

YouTube Video:

Fine Art Conservation Laboratories has been working with the Blue Triangle Multi-cultural Community Center, where the mural is located, on the logistics for the art conservation treatments of this high profile project.  Preserving and restoring this nationally famous mural in Houston, Texas done by renown African American artist Dr. John Biggers, has been a bit of a political process as the financing has been provided as part of Hurricane Harvey Recovery efforts and funded by The Houston Endowment, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Texas Historical Commission and The Kinder Foundation. Special thanks to Head of Conservation, Mr. Steve Pine of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, for his valuable professional oversight and consultation on the project.

If you would like to collaborate on writing and publishing an article about this mural’s restoration, contact Scott M. Haskins 805 570 4140. The art conservation treatments were completed in January… so, this is current news… it seems valuable for this to be publicized during Black History Month.

The blog post on the website of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories is a good read: Professional mural conservation of Hurricane Harvey damage of “Contribution of Negro Women to American Life and Education”.

Would you like to contribute to this wonderful community center and their heartfelt efforts?


Facebook: Blue Triangle Community Center

See the article from the Houston Chronicle. Click on the link

Saving Iconic Mural by Most Famous Historic African American Artist Dr John Biggers :- Professional mural conservation of Hurricane Harvey damage of “Contribution of Negro Women to American Life and Education”. Click on SHOW MORE

Would you like to contribute to this wonderful community center and their heartfelt efforts?
Facebook: Blue Triangle Community Center
See the article from the Houston Chronicle. Click on the link

Special thanks to Head of Conservation, Mr. Steve Pine of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, for his valuable professional oversight and consultation on the project. This project was done as part of Hurricane Harvey Recovery efforts and funded by The Houston Endowment, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Texas Historical Commission and The Kinder Foundation.

For questions about art conservation, call Scott M. Haskins, 805 564 3438

Street Art Visit in Houston with Scott M. Haskins, Mural Conservator

Houston Street Art Tour with Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator



Recently I was working in Houston on the mural conservation of an important, even iconic, historical mural by one of – if not by THE most important African American mural artists in US history, Dr. John Biggers. But while in Houston, we took the time to scout around and found in the same area where we were working, the 3rd Ward, something “worth writing home about.” I want to post about an art district of murals with some very nice images though nothing really blew me away like I saw in Porto, Portugal (see link below) or that I’m used to seeing in Los Angeles


The art in this video comes and goes. One girl lamented that they come by often to take pictures and see the evolution of the art because most of the artwork gets covered over, though a few images had been up for years.


It seems that there is a trend for street artists to put their work up, then focus on the challenge of getting their image to go viral. A lot of times, the fact that the artwork is someplace illegal adds to the vibe and appeals to this underground movement. Banksy’s outlaw status makes him a legend and had developed into a hero status.

In theory, its kind of like the illustrators from 100 years ago who created the artwork, got it published and threw the artwork away. Only Norman Rockwell really broke big time into the legitimate art market. Otherwise, illustrations were never considered real art. Today’s street artists, get the artwork up on the wall, then don’t care about its long term visibility cause they have a virtual world-wide presence and visibility that can help them sell prints, paintings, coffee cups or whatever.

Still though, the girls I talked to said they cry when they see the really good artwork get tagged and covered up to be lost forever.


I love the type of emotional involvement, intellectual stimulation that I experience when I am in front of contemporary street art and my connection with contemporary artists of murals in public places I enjoy very much. Part of that intellectual stimulation is seeing or understanding the difference between fast food art, vandalism and true masterpieces in public places.

But, how do you protect street art – public murals from vandals/graffiti? Applying a substantial sacrificial resin coating is one way. Here’s a quick video:

Is Street Art Worth Saving? A Conundrum! International mastermind group debates mural and art conservation issues

Mural Conservation Masterclass Discusses Issues for Contemporary Art Murals in Public Places

Bibliography – Public Murals and Street Art Conservation


Questions? Call mural conservator Scott M. Haskins at 805 564 3438