Dr. Anthony Bannon Appointed Director of the Burchfield Penney
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Buffalo State is pleased to announce the appointment of Anthony Bannon, Ph.D., as the new director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center. For the past 16 years, Bannon has guided George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, located in Rochester, New York, to national and international acclaim.
During his tenure at Eastman House, Bannon led the creation of three postgraduate preservation schools, alliances with museums, universities, and collectors clubs in large U.S. cities, and many of the most well-attended exhibitions in the Rochester museum’s 65-year history. He also oversaw the digitization of collections and aggressive social-media campaigns to share Eastman House’s unparalleled collections with the world.
“The Burchfield Penney Art Center is crucial to Buffalo State’s efforts to improve the quality of life in our community through the arts, and Anthony Bannon will be an exceptional leader in these efforts,” said Buffalo State president Aaron Podolefsky. “I know he will be a tremendous force for good in Buffalo’s cultural corridor and an able steward of the Burchfield Penney’s many treasures.”
This will be the second term as director of the Burchfield Penney for Bannon, who led the museum from 1985 to 1996.
“Tony Bannon’s vision for the museum—its exhibitions, collections, and community outreach—supports Buffalo State’s ambitious goals and the mission of the Burchfield Penney Art Center,” added Jackie Culliton, chair of the Burchfield Penney Board of Trustees. “Over the past 16 years, both Tony and the Burchfield Penney have independently achieved great things, and the timing is perfect for the two to reunite.”
Founded on the Buffalo State campus in 1966, the Burchfield Penney Art Center is dedicated to the art and vision of renowned American watercolorist Charles E. Burchfield (1893–1967) and the distinguished artists of Western New York. In 2008, the Burchfield Penney expanded from its location in Rockwell Hall to a new $33 million freestanding facility in the heart of Buffalo’s Museum District.
Bannon’s first tenure as director of the Burchfield Penney was marked by significant growth and pivotal acquisitions to the collection, including 1,485 objects from collector Charles Rand Penney. He also established key endowments and community partnerships that remain central to the Burchfield Penney’s exhibition and collections programming.
“It is a privilege to join the Burchfield Penney and Buffalo State at a time of such opportunity for the campus and the community,” said Bannon. “I am moved by how much President Podolefsky’s vision of community service has inspired the leadership of the Burchfield Penney. I am eager to join the museum and the campus in their effort to understand and impact culture in Western New York. It is a unique leadership commitment that can truly make a difference.
“As the museum for Western New York arts, the Burchfield Penney preserves and interprets the cultural DNA of this region,” he continued, “but all keepers of collections must now do more for our communities. As caretakers of this legacy, we proactively join the public discourse. A true cultural campaign, however, can only be achieved through educational excellence. I look forward to joining my colleagues at Buffalo State and the Burchfield Penney in working toward this goal.”
Bannon earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in Olean, New York, his master of arts from the University at Buffalo’s English Department with a concentration in media study, and his Ph.D. in English with a focus on cultural studies, also from UB. He began his career as a filmmaker and a journalist, serving as the arts editor and critic for the Buffalo Evening News and the Buffalo News from 1969 to 1985.
Bannon will transition to his new position in the spring. He succeeds Ted Pietrzak, who retired in 2010. He will greet the community with Burchfield Penney board chair Jackie Culliton and Buffalo State president Aaron Podolefsky on Thursday, February 9, at 10:00 a.m. at the Burchfield Penney.
What Others Are Saying about Anthony Bannon
“Tony Bannon understands that the traditions of higher education and the values of museums present not only opportunities for collaboration, but for integration for both the institutions and the community at large. Creating a model which combines the strengths of both institutions as a center for debate and the heart of civic progress is an important direction for both arts organizations and universities. As director of Eastman House, Tony Bannon led a transformation in all areas of the museum including collections, education and community outreach, publishing, and technology, and he will bring the same passion and vision to the Burchfield Penney and Buffalo State.” —Thomas Jackson, chairman of George Eastman House Board of Trustees and president emeritus of the University of Rochester
“Tony Bannon is one of the proven innovators in the international museum field. He has created novel ways for museums to connect with their communities and to meet a community's distinct needs. The Burchfield Penney Art Center and Buffalo State College initiative to engage the museum and the campus in the creation of a culture of success within Western New York is a leadership initiative that should focus national attention." —Ford W. Bell, president of the American Association of Museums
“Tony Bannon changed the Burchfield Penney during his years as director. The Burchfield Penney Art Center became a nationally accredited museum with collections of international importance.” —Peter Fleischmann, past chair of the Burchfield Penney council and current member of the museum’s Board of Trustees
“We are excited about the selection of Tony Bannon and are very appreciative of the search committee’s time and thoughtful input. We thank M&T Bank and the John R. Oishei Foundation for their generous support of the search for a new director.” —David Buck, vice chair of the Burchfield Penney Board of Trustees and chair of the search committee.