Burchfield lettering

VIPs to Cut Ribbon on New Burchfield Penney Art Center Tomorrow

The Burchfield Penney Art Center and Buffalo State College will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, September 5, marking the completion of construction of the new Burchfield Penney Art Center and the start of moving more than 7,500 works of art into the new $33 million museum. The museum opens to the public on November 22, when a special campus reception will be held as well.

Hundreds of people from the region and the state are expected to attend tomorrow’s celebration, which will include a laser ribbon cutting as guests walk through the entry doors into the main gallery for speeches, and a formal ribbon cutting with government officials, donors, and representatives from the college and the museum. Keynote speeches by President Muriel A. Howard and Burchfield Penney Director Ted Pietrzak will underscore the unique collaboration that has guided this important initiative and the vision and generosity of the people who made it possible. Vice President for Finance and Management Stanley Kardonsky, who worked closely with the architects and shepherded this monumental collaboration, will provide welcoming remarks.

“This is a momentous occasion for the Burchfield Penney, Buffalo State College, and Western New York,” Howard said. “The new Burchfield Penney will provide an outstanding showcase for artwork and an exceptional experience for our community. It will be a welcoming destination for all and an invaluable resource for the entire college, providing active learning opportunities for students in all disciplines.”

Designed by the award-winning firm Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, the new museum provides 84,000 square feet of contemporary space dedicated exclusively to the art and artists of Western New York, in particular to world-renowned watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield (1893–1967). The new museum is unique in its partnership with the college and the community, the size and scope of its regional collection, and the rare glimpse it provides into the paintings, process, and perspective of Charles Burchfield. It is also expected to be the first art museum in New York State to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

“The new Burchfield Penney represents a new chapter in the legacy of Western New York art,” Pietrzak said. “The new museum is designed to inspire, engage, and educate for the future.” Elaborating on Western New York’s vibrant arts culture, Pietrzak cited more than 20 museums and galleries in the region, nearly 200 arts and cultural organizations, and hundreds of art spaces. “We have a wealth of talent on which to draw,” he said.

The art center features 18,000 square feet of galleries, as well as more than 5,000 square feet of education and program space, which will benefit from collaboration with Buffalo State’s art conservation, visual arts, museum studies, fine arts, and art education programs.

The new museum will be home to the world’s largest collection of paintings, drawings, and journals by Charles Burchfield. In addition, a wide range of acclaimed twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists are represented, including Elbert Hubbard, Gustav Stickley, Karl Kipp, Frank Lloyd Wright, Edwin Dickinson, Milton Rogovin, Susan Rothenberg, Joseph Piccillo, Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, Alberto Rey, Hollis Frampton, and Paul Sharits.

The museum is designed to meet rigorous standards in the areas of site sustainability, water use and efficiency, reduced use of energy and atmospheric impact, use of materials and resources, improved indoor air quality, and innovation and design process. In addition to LEED recognition, the museum will participate in the New York EnergySmart New Construction Program, meeting state standards to reduce energy usage and consumption.