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Walter A. Prochownik

Walter A. Prochownik

Born: Buffalo, New York, United States of America

Walter A. Prochownik was a painter and educator recognized for his murals, landscapes, portraits, figurative, and abstract works. He worked in a wide range of media including pastel, oil, acrylic, graphite, and mixed media. Prochownik was born December 12, 1923, in Buffalo, but he and his family returned to their native Poland the following year. In 1940, at the age of seventeen, he returned to Buffalo to escape the conflict that ensued following Nazi occupation in Poland. Prochownik was able to get out on the last boat, leaving behind his family. Three years later he enlisted in the Army to serve in WWII. He became a prisoner of war in 1945, spending the last four months of the war in a German prison camp.

Following the end of the war, Prochownik returned to Buffalo where he began his art training, enrolling in the Art Institute of Buffalo. He studied for two years and had his first solo exhibition with the institute, which included landscapes of Poland and other scenes he witnessed during the war. He also studied at the Art Students League of New York City under Edwin Dickinson and was influenced by his close friend Charles Burchfield. Prochownik began exhibiting regularly in the late 1950s; he exhibited with the Buffalo Society of Artists, winning the gold medal in 1959 and the bronze medal in 1960. He also exhibited with the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and at Ball State University, among others.

Prochownik also began a longstanding career as an educator, teaching at Millard Fillmore College from 1963-1981 and SUNY Empire State College from 1975-1995. He taught at the University at Buffalo from 1981-1995 and was appointed professor emeritus in 1995. He was honored by the Art Department with a solo exhibition upon his retirement. In 1997, Prochownik was honored by the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County for his contributions to the arts.