Museum History

Consistent with its mission as both a dedicated and regional museum, the Burchfield-Penney has, throughout its history, broadened its range of commitments and activities, while intensifying the museum's focus on the work of Charles E. Burchfield.

In addition to its visual arts offerings, the Burchfield-Penney regularly presents concerts, literary readings, lectures, symposia, workshops, and special events. This diverse programming provides artists, students, scholars, collectors, and the general public with opportunities to learn and exchange ideas about how Western New York art reflects American aesthetics and culture.

Charles Burchfield inspired the creation of the museum at Buffalo State College in 1966. Originally called the Charles Burchfield Center, the Burchfield-Penney was formally created through the Buffalo State College Foundation Inc. Its first director was Edna M. Lindemann, Ph. D.

In 1983, the museum was renamed the Burchfield Art Center to support its multi-arts focus. Committing to a full range of visual expression, including craft art, architecture, and design, as well as fine art, the Burchfield-Penney Council formally accepted an expanded mission in 1988.

Led by its second director, Anthony Bannon, Ph.D., who served from September 1985 through March 1996, the Burchfield-Penney began a decade of significant growth. Expansions of exhibition space, archives and collection storage, and administrative offices were accompanied by increased fiscal and community support.

Between 1991 and 1994, the Burchfield Art Center received a series of gifts from Charles Rand Penney, Ph.D., including the largest private collection of works by Charles E. Burchfield; publications and hand-crafted domestic objects from the Roycroft community; and historic and contemporary works of craft and fine art.

These collections, which have been used in numerous exhibitions, educational programs, and publications, have provided the Burchfield-Penney with invaluable national exposure. In 1994, the museum was renamed the Burchfield-Penney Art Center to honor the significance of these gifts and their contribution to the museum’s mission.

Community collaborations, including those that led to the development of the Elmwood Museum District and the Olmsted Crescent, the public art projects Herd About Buffalo and Art On Wheels and a dynamic exhibition schedule, illustrate the museum’s growth. The Burchfield-Penney began a new phase of service to a national and international audience with its third director, Ted Pietrzak, who joined the museum in 1998.

. .
Dr. Edna M. Lindemann
Director: 1966-1985

Dr. Anthony Bannon
Director: 1985-1996

Dr. Charles Rand Penney

Ted Pietrzak

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Burchfield-Penney Art Center
Buffalo State College
Rockwell Hall, Third Floor
1300 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, New York 14222

Tel: (716) 878-6011
Fax: (716) 878-6003