llustration of three people in masks by sudent Madeline Brown

Graphic Design Professor Makes Video Highlighting Student Work During Pandemic


After the COVID-19 pandemic effectively shut down Buffalo State College, leaving Upton Hall studios vacant, students within the Art and Design Department carried on.

During the past several weeks of distance learning, they created paintings, digital designs, photographs, and more. Some of the artwork reflects the pandemic; other pieces show immense creativity in spite of it.

Brent Patterson, associate professor of graphic design, wanted to encapsulate the work in a video that could be used as part of a virtual open house.

“I recommended we show what students do, rather than just talk about it,” Patterson said. “And then make a video as uplifting as possible.”

He asked other program coordinators to send their students’ best work; he selected almost 40 pieces from students majoring in painting, photography, graphic design, printmaking, art education, art history, interior design, wood design, and jewelry design. He then edited the video, adding music and interspersing the artwork with haunting shots of the empty studios.

The three-minute video is hosted on Patterson’s personal video account and can be seen on the department website.

“I received all kinds of impressive work,” he said. “But I chose what could be perceived by the viewer within three seconds. It’s a short, quickly moving video. The main point is to get viewers to want to know more and to make students feel part of something bigger.”

During the weeks of remote work, there have been a few surprises, he said.

“Oddly, students who are more introverted in person came out in surprising ways online, and some of the extroverted students went the other way. It’s been an important learning opportunity for everyone.”

He is hoping the video will attract new students to one of the college’s many visual arts programs.

“When we’ve had in-person open houses in the past, students ask very specific questions,” he said. “It’s not about the classes. Rather, they want to know what they’ll be making.”

And this video, with its stunning and thought-provoking artwork, conveys this nicely. Overall, it’s been a positive project for students during a challenging time.

“I thought this would be inspiring to future students and others,” Patterson said. “If you see what we can do when going through adversity, think what we can do when we’re unbound.”


Illustration by Madeline Brown, printmaking and art history major, Art and Design Department.

Photo of Brent Patterson by Bruce Fox, campus photographer