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"What’s OLD is NEW Again"

Gloria Velandia has mastered the fine art of restoration

By Daisy Olivera

At 33, Gloria Velandia is recognized as one of the youngest certified conservators working in private practice in the United States.

Her scrupulous reputation and expertise are still in demand around the globe today. Among those clients who hire Velandia to preserve and restore books, paper, paintings, sculptures, archeological objects and historic buildings are the National Gallery of Art and Library of Congress, who depend on her skills to ensure that precious historic documents will remain intact for at least a century, as well as high-profile private art collectors, celebrities and presidents of foreign countries. Velandia has restored paintings worth several million dollars that have been auctioned at Sotheby’s and Christie's, including works by Rodin, Chagall, Lam, Diego Rivera, Botero, Rockwell, and Miró. Then there are the 13th-century icons, fossils from the Chinese dynasties, pre-Columbian artifacts, and Egyptian and Mayan pottery on which she’s worked her magic. The petite, green-eyed beauty has even scaled a 20-story scaffolding to restore historic buildings and monuments. Miami’s climate keeps Velandia’s services in high demand – she is constantly repairing hurricane and mildew damage. “My job is a fascinating combination of art and chemistry” says Velandia, “and there is never a dull moment.” 

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