In the Loop
Alumni News : Feb 17, 2016

School of Art and Art History alumna works to conserve Andean traditions

By Casey Wooster

School of Art + Art History alumnus Vanessa Ocaña-Mayor (BFA Sculpture and BA Anthropology ‘14) finds passion in conservation at the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco (Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco) in Peru.

“The mission of the Center is one that speaks to my heart,” explains Ocaña-Mayor. “They were developed for and have dedicated themselves to helping preserve the Andean textiles traditions of Cusco, while empowering the weavers of these textiles, and bringing rightful importance to the tradition of textile art. All of these reasons resonate with why I’m in conservation. . .”

Last year, Ocaña-Mayor identified a need for proper housing in the Center’s growing permanent collection of monteras, which is the Quechua word for women’s hats. Their collection of about 35 monteras, including styles not worn or made anymore, have been stored in simple cardboard boxes due to a lack of direction and funds.

By properly housing these monteras with acid-free boxes, Ocaña-Mayor hopes to extend the lives of the monteras allowing the Center preserve and share the history of traditional Andean clothing for the future generations.

“I will be happy once I see each beautiful montera on top of a customized support inside an appropriate acid-free box,” conveyed Ocaña-Mayor.

To make an online donation to this continuing project, click here.

For more information on the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, visit their website at