The Michigan Chapter was founded in 1999 by business leader and philanthropist, Mr. Frank Stella. Mr. Stella was a friend of Ambassador William A. Wilson, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, in 1984 as the first American ambassador to the Vatican. Mr. Wilson established the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums in 1993 to restore and maintain the Vatican art collection.
Mr. Wilson encouraged his friend Frank Stella to found a Michigan Chapter and through the original board of directors, who included Frank Stella, Mary Lussier, Tarik Daoud and Jennifer Nassar. The Michigan chapter adopted Boticelli’s fresco The Events in the Life of Moses as its first restoration project in the Sistine Chapel.
Since that time, the Michigan Chapter has gone on to assist in the establishment of several other chapters, including the Northwest Chapter and the North Dakota Chapter. In the last 15 years, the Michigan Chapter has also raised more than $2,000,000 and restored nearly 20 works of art in the Vatican Museums. Some of the projects include:
- Events in the Life of Moses by Botticelli in the Sistine Chapel
- The Candlesticks on the Pope’s altar in the Pauline Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, his private chapel
- The San Damaso Courtyard Fountain
- The Borgia Apartments by artist Pinturicchio
- Madonna & Child with St. Jerome and St. John the Baptist, funded by the Stange Trust, David Stone, Trustee
- A Chinese Embroidered Silk Tapestry
- Ten Beautifully Decorated Glasses funded by Dr. Miguel and Irene Lis-Planells
- Constantine Monogram by Michael Marz & Beth Moore
Currently, the chapter is restoring the Madonna della Guardia section of the Vatican Gardens and a Raphael tapestry, The Blinding of Elymas.