Founder and Chief Conservator


Peggy Van Witt is a third-generation paintings conservator. Based in the Metro of Kansas City, she works in private practice in her state-of-the-art conservation studio.

Van Witt is a long standing member and Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) and adheres to a strict Code of Ethics.  She is also a member of The New England Conservation Association, Conservators in Private Practice (CIPP), and the Midwest Regional Conservation Guild.

Through the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, she has attended dozens of industry workshops such as Varnishes and Surface Coatings, Adhesives for Conservation, Mastering Inpainting, and Modular Cleaning, as well as the Symposium of Early European Paintings offered at Yale, New Haven.

Ms. Van Witt has worked in Germany, England, Switzerland, and Belgium. Prior to moving to Kansas City in 2003, Ms. Van Witt worked as a conservator in private practice in Westport, Connecticut, initially under the tutelage of Conservator Arnold Wagner, co-founder of Conservators in Private Practice (CIPP). Ms. Van Witt collaborated on projects with Mr. Wagner until his retirement in 2009.

 In the 1970s and '80s, Peggy received two Bachelors degrees and a Masters degree at the University of Southern California, the Art Center College of Design, and the University of Maryland's European Division. 

A lively and sought-after lecturer on art conservation and the care and treatment of paintings, Ms. Van Witt's lectures include hands-on demonstrations and conservation assessments. Van Witt works exclusively with interns and outside contractors like John Smith.

Email Ms. Van Witt directly at

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John Smith joined the team as a contractor in 2013 to assist with structural restoration and conservation of paintings. He serves as VWFA's webmaster, and does all digital photo and document restoration.

John is a graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design, where he majored in advertising and illustration. He worked previously as a humor artist and designer at Hallmark Cards for 24 years. He enjoys relaxing with his wife and two dogs, scooting to work on nice days, and watching old sci-fi movies. 

Kat Zahner

Kat Zahner works as a Conservation Technician for Zahner Metal Conservation and assists in the Van Witt Fine Art Conservation Studio. 

Zahner acquired the knowledge necessary for the treatment and maintenance of Metals working at the four generation family owned business A. Zahner Company, known internationally for their highly crafted architectural metalwork for artists and architects around the globe.

Zahner studied Art History at Montana State University in Bozeman and Creative Writing at Yale University. The Conservation of Art pairs the hands-on restoration process and the story every piece brings with it from fabrication to conservation in the scientific-based processes that determine the least invasive solution while maintaining the artist’s intention for every unique piece.