Burchfield Penney Art Center

Hey everyone, I hope you’ve had a good week! Marywood’s fall semester started last Monday so I’ve been a bit busy with balancing all of the reading and writing I need to do for each class. Last time, I talked about visiting the Niagara Falls State Park for the first time, but this week I want to highlight the Burchfield Penney Art Center located right across the street from SUNY Buffalo State. The last time I set foot in an art museum or gallery space had been months prior, so it was a comforting feeling to see new artwork in person, again!

On the Center’s website, it states that “The Burchfield Penney Art Center’s education philosophy has one overriding objective, which is to offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy learning and creating within the museum. To reach this goal on an ongoing basis, the museum develops new programs and uses unique spaces to provide a variety of experiences that meet the museum’s mission of encouraging learning and celebrating our richly creative and diverse community. In addition, we strive to create strong connections with SUNY Buffalo State and our neighbors through outreach, partnerships and collaborations”.

The Center’s layout creates a light and open atmosphere and does a wonderful job of displaying local artists’ work within that space. Some of the current exhibitions that really stuck with me include work highlighting the stages of the Women’s Suffrage Movements, a discussion about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and a really cool instillation that I wasn’t able to get good pictures of (it’s placed in an almost pitch-black room with minimal lighting).

Caitlin Cass’s Women’s Work: Suffrage Movements 1848-1965 mostly lived within its own space. With a silver metallic marker, she drew out a timeline of the Suffrage Movements on the yellow walls of a small hallway which opened into a bigger space with comic strips and writing all over with an instillation in the middle (the three banners being a part of it). Cass’s work draws you right in and is absolutely something needed to be experienced in person. There was so much more I could share about her work, but these the writing on the banners stuck with me the most as I didn’t have time to go around the room and read every little thing (though I will absolutely be returning before her work is taken down).

The following photographs, paintings, and sculptures are from the show, What’s Going On.

The works shown above were just a few of the many that were on display and for me to discuss all them would take up a LOT of space for what is meant to be a shorter blog post. To make up for the lack of explanation, I have, as always, included links to the Center’s website as well as the pages that discuss each show hanging in the Art Center.

Lastly, Chantal Calato‘s UNSEEN instillation probably captivated my interest the most. You walk into a very dark room, with very dim lighting (just enough to let your eyes become adjusted enough to find and sit down on one of the two small benches provided in the room) and listen. The track is just over 30 minutes long and I simply sat there in the room, myself on one bench and a stranger on the bench opposite, and listened to the stories of those talking in the clip (the dark very much helps you focus on the voices and the emotions these people expressed as they spoke). Again, I would highly recommend clicking on the link provided for more context about the piece!

I hope you enjoyed the brief overview about what’s currently on exhibit at the Burchfield Penney Arts Center. I’m really happy I found the place, I wasn’t aware of its existence until traveling to Buffalo and will definitely return whenever I’m back up that way. Enjoy the rest of your week, and until next time, take care!

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