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What is Western New York Art?

On View Friday, November 21, 2008–Sunday, May 31, 2009

Entrance Gallery   

What is Western New York Art?

The Burchfield Penney Art Center is a museum dedicated to the art and vision of Charles E. Burchfield and distinguished artists of Buffalo-Niagara and Western New York State. Through its affiliation with Buffalo State College, the museum encourages learning and celebrates our richly creative and diverse community.

Western New York is defined as eight counties: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, and Wyoming. After the Sylvia L. Rosen Endowment was established in 1987, Monroe County was added exclusively for exhibitions and collections of fine art in craft media.  This enhanced the museum’s unique commitment to craft art unlike any other arts institution west of Syracuse.  There is no single artistic style that defines Western New York art. It is as diverse as our artists, who include: 

  • Indigenous Haudenosaunee, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy, comprised of members of the Six Nations: the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Seneca, and the Tuscarora
  • Regionally-born artists who developed artistic careers after moving away, such as Susan Rothenberg, Robert Mangold and Charles Cary Rumsey
  • Artists born elsewhere who became residents of the region, notably Charles Burchfield, Lars Sellstedt, Milton Rogovin, Alberto Rey and Steina
  • Artists who are educated here and launch their artistic careers, such as Cindy Sherman and Robert Longo who attended Buffalo State College and co-founded Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center before moving to New York City where they gained international fame

The Burchfield Penney Art Center’s collections and exhibitions align with its mission to represent the extraordinarily diverse range of work created by artists of Buffalo-Niagara and Western New York State.  Outside of New York City, Buffalo-Niagara is the most vibrant arts destination in the State. Our museum collects, preserves, interprets and presents a rich cultural legacy as well as exciting innovations.

 —Nancy Weekly, Head of Collections and the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator