Regarding the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Section 106 Review of Galveston Arts Center’s Project to Repair the First National Bank Building

 

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded the Galveston Arts Center (the Center) a grant to repair the First National Bank Building in Galveston’s historic downtown, which was damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. This public notice is issued as part of NEH’s responsibilities under 36 C.F.R. Part 800, the regulations which implement Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended, 16 U.S.C. § 470. NEH, a funding agency, is required by regulation to identify and assess the effects of any proposed actions on historic properties. If any proposed action will have an adverse effect on historic resources, NEH works with the appropriate parties to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects. Additionally, the Section 106 regulations require NEH to consider the views of the public on preservation issues when making final decisions that affect historic properties.

In this grant application, the Center proposed to repair the building by:

  • consulting with preservation architect David Watson,
  • consulting with Jhonny Langer of SOURCE, a company that focuses on paint analysis, architectural, and object restoration,
  • purchasing the material supplies and labor for removing and replacing damaged baseboards, ceiling tiles, drywall, and window sills with equivalent materials,
  • cleaning wall studs with anti-mold cleanser,
  • replacing studio classroom lighting,
  • cleaning and painting areas surrounding the renovations,
  • and applying patchwork for the stucco façade.

The Galveston Arts Center is a non-collecting museum that exhibits works by contemporary artists from Texas and the Gulf Coast. Founded in 1968 and incorporated as the Galveston Arts Center in 1986, it serves as the primary center of contemporary art for a culturally diverse, eight-county area between Houston, Corpus Christi, and Beaumont. Focusing on emerging and established regional artists, the center produces more than 12 exhibitions each season and reaches over 50,000 visitors annually through arts education programs and public festivals. Located in the First National Bank Building (1878), the center was damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in late August of 2017. Rain water flooded the elevator shaft and permeated the building’s stucco façade, leaching into the interior drywall and warping window frames. The works of art were undamaged, and the center continues to operate, but with the threat of mold, the building needs assessment and repair. The First National Bank Building is part of the Strand Historic District, which is designated a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In a letter dated February 21, 2018, the Texas Historical Commission found that the repairs planned by the Galveston Arts Center would have “no adverse effects on historic properties.”

As required by Section 106, NEH is providing the public with information about repair of the First National Bank Building, as well as an opportunity to comment on any knowledge of, or concerns with, historic properties in the proposed project area, and issues relating to the project’s potential effects on historic properties. Comments may be submitted to the NEH by e-mail to preservation@neh.gov , or to National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20506. The deadline for submitting comments is May 3, 2018.

Galveston Arts Center
First National Bank Building
2127 Strand
Galveston, TX 77550

Area of Potential Effect: