A Conversation with Board Chair Paul Provost

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After 10 years of board service, Paul Provost took the reins as the Preservation League's Board Chair at the beginning of 2019. A strong proponent of historic preservation, Paul is also a mainstay of the New York art world where he has served as a curator, scholar, business leader, and trusted art market adviser.

What drew you to the Preservation League?

I was drawn to the Preservation League because of the League’s people and its mission. The staff, board, and supporters of the League are a diverse and highly committed group of people from across the State, and their dedication to the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth, and the protection of our historic buildings and landscapes continues to impress and inspire me.

Have you always been interested in historic preservation?

I was trained in the history of American art and architecture, so I’ve always been drawn to American culture, especially the extraordinary diversity of American building forms and structures. As I’ve become more knowledgeable about preservation, I’ve become more interested in advocacy and preservation as a means for community building and sustainable economic development.

Are there any upcoming Preservation League projects or events you are most looking forward to?

The League’s Excellence in Historic Preservation Awards always excites me, as this program showcases the depth and breadth of preservation across the state. The League has a unique platform in that it provides both statewide leadership and advocacy as well as support for local, grassroots initiatives — and the awards program demonstrates the League’s work at its best.

In your view, why does historic preservation matter for New York's future?

While preservation is on the one hand concerned with restoring and protecting our shared cultural heritage, I’ve come to realize that preservation is really about community building, and some of the most interesting projects happening across New York State do more than just restore a building — they really are on the forefront of strengthening the fabric of our communities, and stronger communities will be critical for creating a better shared future.