Debra Adamcik is one of AiP’s most enthusiastic supporters, and has joined us at three projects. We first met Deb in 2003 at our adobe project in Santa Ana de la Joya, Mexico, where she helped local residents repair their adobe mission and record the beautiful decorative painting under the choir loft. In 2007, she traveled to Serravalle, Italy to work with AiP partner Alma Ortolan in assessing and documenting decorative painting and columns at the Monastery of San Giovanni Battista. A trip to Gjirokastra, Albania was her third AiP venture, and she definitely got a workout hiking up and down the narrow walkways and paths while recording well-hidden inscriptions.
Deb is a world traveler, who between trips and working as a self-employed artist has earned her MS in Historic Preservation from Eastern Michigan University. She also works as a conservator and project manager for Building Arts and Conservation, specializing in decorative finishes. Her work and extensive travels have allowed her to see an amazing variety of historic art and architecture, which she plans to present as examples to students when she begins teaching.
Deb’s involvement in each project is a great asset to the community members she has met and shared experiences with in Mexico, Italy and Albania. Deb says of her AiP adventures:
Yes, I am an AiP addict. I call myself a caricaturing, cartwheeling, creative, conserving consumer of culture as I thrive on seeing how people live and how their beliefs are manifested in their ritual, art and architecture around this incredible planet. I love connecting with people and trying to understand the “why” behind their lives and culture. AiP allows a unique opportunity to learn not only about a place and its people, but to also have a part in preserving it and working alongside those to whom it matters most.
We are fortunate to be in an age when many of us can travel almost anywhere – but this can also be unfortunate as package tourism can spoil the experience and waves of people can damage the site and artifacts. I am one of many who want a deeper experience; where I am not just passing through. I think many of us want to personally connect with people and positively affect the place we visit – we still hope to make a difference. Many of our jobs are sitting at a desk and not always having the gratification of seeing what our smile or our own hands can accomplish. AiP is the perfect situation to have all these wishes come together!
As mentioned, I have my own history of traveling – studying abroad, traveling independently and with tour companies, and volunteering with several organizations before discovering AiP.
I was thrilled to find AiP – to work with (and speak Spanish with!) the local adobe master and town’s residents interested in and understanding the value of saving their built heritage.
While I was working on my thesis, “Hands On Heritage: A Compilation of Conservation Experiences”, the workshop in Italy was a perfect finale. It gave me insight into what an Italian conservator deals with in a fun, affordable, absolutely wonderful and educational way.
And, enjoying Albania will not be my last, as I see volunteering with AiP as a rich and unmatched way of growing my experience and career in preservation and education of world heritage.
Diana Barbera-Horwitz – So pleased with the results of one project, she just had to try another
Jerry Donahoe – Jerry’s adventure in preservation resulted in strong connections within his adopted community and beyond.