Diana Barbera-Horwitz first volunteered with Adventures in Preservation in 2006. Since then, she has continued to support our efforts toward sustainable development as well as take advantage of the educational opportunities our workshop offer.
In 2006, Diana joined a group of twenty for a two-week project at the Weisel Bridge in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The bridge – a rare, arched masonry bridge from the late 1800s – sits on the grounds of an international hostel and is part of the state park system. Diana, who hails from the region, was pleased to be saving a piece of local heritage and even more so to be working with Quakertown-based, masonry conservation expert Andy deGruchy, who both initiated the project and led the workshop. Diana was impressed with how much she and the group accomplished:
The restoration of the Weisel Bridge was a huge undertaking and most of us seriously thought the work would take months to complete. There was so much deterioration; entire large sections of the bridge had to be totally rebuilt, a huge area of the arch was missing completely, several new capstones had to be made from scratch and the entire bridge had to be stabilized as well as restored.
To have completed this restoration on time was a credit not only to all the participants but to Andy deGruchy who never faltered with his ‘can do’ attitude and excitement for the project.
I am very satisfied with the experience and especially with all the incredible, interesting and wonderful people from all kinds of backgrounds, who came together and worked so hard for this worthwhile conservation workshop
In 2007, Diana joined AiP on a trip further afield, this time in Serravalle, Italy. Here she and four other volunteers worked with one of Italy’s foremost art and fresco conservators, Alma Ortolan, to document and evaluate masonry arches and wall paintings in the 17th century Monastery of San Giovanni Battista. Diana described her educational experience:
After participating in the Weisel Bridge Restoration Project, Quakertown, PA, I explored the website, saw ‘Italy’ and the details and said, “Yes!” Conservation of fresco paintings from a monastery that dates back to the 1300s —what could be more interesting!
The workshop, where we learned how to make our own fresco painting, was illuminating and added an important component in understanding a complicated subject.
Alma Ortolan and her assistant, Chiara Piccin, were so professional, well-informed and delightful. The topics of study were treated seriously, yet they made it and themselves very approachable. … Alma was brilliant, kind, and sensitive with a great sense of humor.
Meet More Volunteers
Debra Adamcik – A veteran of AiP workshops in Mexico, Italy and Albania
Jerry Donahoe – Jerry’s adventure in preservation resulted in strong connections within his adopted community and beyond.