The Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State University has received the Award of Distinction in the “Engaging Communities” category from the Museum Association of New York (MANY) in recognition of its exhibition LEROI: Living in Color and supporting programming.
The career retrospective showcases paintings of internationally acclaimed Buffalo artist LeRoi Johnson, as well as the work of over 40 local youth artists from the Buffalo Center for Art and Technology, Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center, Just Buffalo Literary Center, and the Buffalo Public Schools. The exhibition and supporting programming address important conversations around themes like identity, social justice, and community.
The award was among 14 that MANY bestowed in 2023—and one of just five in the “Engaging Communities” category—to “celebrate unique leadership, dedicated community service, transformational visitor experiences, community engagement, and innovative programs that use collections to tell stories of everyone who calls New York home.”
“The communal spirit present in LeRoi Johnson’s work is expanded even further with our innovative partnerships, which bring diverse voices of the next generation into the conversation.”
— Tiffany Gaines, Curator, LEROI: Living in Color
“This award not only highlights the impact of arts organizations throughout our city working in concert, but the leadership of the exhibition curator, Tiffany Gaines, and the voices of young people,” said Scott Propeack, executive director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center. “This work is central to our mission to offer meaningful, educational, and engaging experiences dedicated to the art and artists of Buffalo and our region. We want to express our gratitude to the Museum Association of New York, and to our outstanding artists and community members for making this possible.”
“We share this honor with our community partners, the instructors, and youth artists,” said Tiffany Gaines, the exhibition’s curator. “The communal spirit present in LeRoi Johnson’s work is expanded even further with our innovative partnerships, which bring diverse voices of the next generation into the conversation. The profound and imaginative contributions of each student enrich this project and continue to inspire us to engage our community in new ways.”
The Burchfield Penney will be recognized at MANY’s 2023 annual conference, “Finding Center: Access, Inclusion, Participation, and Engagement,” on Monday, April 17, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Syracuse Marriott Downtown in Syracuse, New York.
“New York’s museums and museum professionals are reimagining and reinventing their roles within their communities, how they interpret their stories and collections, and the visitor experience,” said Natalie Stetson, executive director of the Erie Canal Museum and MANY program committee co-chair. “This year’s award winners are outstanding examples for the museum field.”
“This work is central to our mission to offer meaningful, educational, and engaging experiences dedicated to the art and artists of Buffalo and our region.”
— Scott Propeack, Executive Director, Burchfield Penney Art Center
“We were incredibly impressed with the quality and quantity of award nominations this year, which made the review process highly competitive,” said Clifford Laube, public programs specialist at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum and MANY program committee co-chair. “Museums and museum staff across the state are demonstrating creative thinking and are inspiring institutional change.”
MANY’s Awards of Distinction celebrate organizations that use exceptional and resourceful methods to engage their communities and build new audiences. Awards are made based on the size of an organization’s operating budget.
LEROI: Living in Color is on view in the Burchfield Penney Art Center through Sunday, March 26.
About the Museum Association of New York
The Museum Association of New York is the only statewide museum service organization with more than 730 member museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, and aquariums. MANY helps shape a better future for museums and museum professionals by uplifting best practices and building organizational capacity through advocacy, training, and networking opportunities.
About the Burchfield Penney Art Center
Established in 1966 on the campus of SUNY Buffalo State University, 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 Buffalo and the region.
The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. In 2008, the Burchfield Penney expanded from its location in Rockwell Hall to a new $36 million freestanding facility in the heart of Buffalo’s Museum District. Designed by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, the museum includes more than 84,000 square feet dedicated primarily to galleries, as well as education and program space and an outdoor year-round space for three-screen video and sound.
It is home to the world’s largest collection of artwork, documentary archives, and ephemera by Burchfield and a collection of more than 8,000 works by more than 1,000 artists. Its lead collections include photographers Milton Rogovin, Marion Faller, Clara Sipprell, and David Moog; sculptor Charles Carey Rumsey; film artists Paul Sharits and Hollis Frampton; intermedia work and archives by Robert Longo; and archives and objects about Artpark, Roycroft movement, and the Rehn Gallery in New York City.
The Burchfield Penney was the first LEED-certified art museum in New York State.
Julia Norris, Social and Digital Content Specialist
Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State
Photos courtesy of the Burchfield Penney Art Center.