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Peggy Van Witt, Founder and Chief Conservator

Peggy Van Witt is a peer-approved fine art conservator and Professional Associate with the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). A third-generation conservator, she practices at her state-of-the-art conservation studio located in the greater Kansas City area. 

Van Witt brings exceptional training, knowledge and expertise to every project. Museum standards and methodologies, which adhere to the American Institute for Conservation’s (AIC) Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice, are the hallmark of her studio practice—and her commitment to her clients.

Van Witt has worked as a conservator in Germany, England, Switzerland and Belgium. Prior to moving to Kansas City in 2003, Van Witt was a conservator in private practice in Westport, Connecticut. Initially under the tutelage of renowned conservator, Arnold Wagner, co-founder of Conservators in Private Practice (CIPP), Van Witt collaborated on projects with Mr. Wagner until his retirement in 2009. In addition to her CIPP membership, she is also a member of The New England Conservation Association and the Midwest Regional Conservation Guild.

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

 

Through the years, she has consistently attended industry-related workshops and symposiums to study cutting-edge processes, methodologies and technology to bring to her thriving practice.

A sought-after lecturer on art conservation and the care and treatment of paintings, Van Witt's lectures include hands-on demonstrations and conservation assessments.

Our Team

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Kelsey Urbanek

Kelsey Urbanek brings extensive visual art, design and framing experience to her responsibilities as structural technician with Van Witt Fine Art Conservation. Prior to joining our team, Urbanek supervised a custom art framing shop where her specialties included archival fitting and mounting techniques, along with unique, customized designs. This foundation of knowledge, skill and experience provide an invaluable contribution to all of the projects she completes.

Urbanek holds a degree in Studio Art, with an emphasis in drawing, from Missouri State University. Also an accomplished jewelry designer and entrepreneur, Urbanek infuses her work with creative vision and expertise, whether in our studio or through her own business, Sonder Isle Creations LLC.

Urbanek believes each art conservation project provides new possibilities for problem solving. “Every piece requires an individualized, tailored approach and presents a fresh challenge, as well as a new opportunity for growth and discovery.”

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Dustin Wooden

Dustin joined the studio as our Account Manager. With a background in education, fine art, and a recently earned MBA, he was a rare find! He is responsible for improving daily operations, maintaining and developing the website, managing our social media accounts, and marketing the business. He also contributes to the restoration and conservation of fine art, frames, and sculptures.

Dustin holds a degree in Illustration, having graduated from Kansas State University with a BFA. He earned his teaching certification from UMKC and recently completed his MBA program with honors from the UMKC Bloch School.

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Nellie Elliott

Nellie joined the studio as a conservation technician and works on structural restoration, painting conservation, framing, and administration. Nellie holds a degree in Art History from Wichita State University, and has also studied French, Music, Women’s Studies, and Chemistry.

 

Before joining the Van Witt team, she worked at multiple galleries and museums, including the Mary R. Koch Arts Center and the Ulrich Museum of Art. Nellie is passionate about preserving cultural heritage through art conservation, and loves having the opportunity to learn something new from each project. In her free time, Nellie loves to read, paint, and play the piano.

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Melissa Chaney

Melissa joined the studio as a conservation technician and works on structural restoration, painting conservation, framing and administration.

Melissa holds a degree in Art Education from the University of Central Missouri, a Masters degree in Art Curriculum from the University of Central Missouri as well as a Specialist Degree in Painting and Art History from the Kansas City Art Institute.

 

Before joining the Van Witt team she taught Painting and Art History for 30 years and is passionate about educating others within the realms of art.  As an artist and art teacher she is proficient in art presentation and problem solving. Each piece which comes into the studio holds a unique learning opportunity for preservation of its history. In her free time she paints golf courses.

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Laura Ganschow

Laura Ganschow is an Intern at Van Witt Fine Art Conservation. Prior to conservation practice, Laura was a Gallery Assistant at Habitat Contemporary Art Gallery in Kansas City, MO and is currently an Art History and Museum Studies graduate student at the University of Missouri Kansas City. As a Gallery Assistant, Laura worked with the installation of artwork to artists vision and American museum standards.

 

Today, Laura transforms that experience into the aid of conserving the history and heirlooms at Van Witt Fine Art. Laura is a member of the Midwest Regional Conservation group, the American Institute for Conservation, and is the liaison for the Kansas City Emerging Conservation Professionals Network. Laura is a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and holds a bachelor of fine arts in Painting. Laura enjoys traveling abroad to visit museums, historical sites, and natural wonders.