Art at UB

Work from a graduate student during open studios

Our Mission

The department of art at the university at buffalo is dedicated to developing the technical , conceptual and creative problem solving skills that will prepare you for a lifetime career in the professional world of art and design. Your customized course of study at UB provides the foundation for a creative practice that connects you to the city of Buffalo and the larger world.

Our Faculty do not just teach the key principles of art and design needed for lifelong creative careers, they model creative thinking, interdisciplinary research and collaborative problem solving needed to tackle tomorrows urgent questions.

Our Students

Our student body represents a diverse cross-section of the nation and the world. As a small art and design school situated within one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive research universities, students get the best of both worlds. With a 13:1 student/faculty ratio, students get to know their faculty by working alongside them in studios and labs.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to our mission at the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo. We pride ourselves on the ways our students engage with diverse communities around the world and within the city of Buffalo. It is our goal to promote a welcoming climate for our diverse faculty, staff, student body, and university community. UB is the premier public research university in the northeastern United States and the largest and most comprehensive campus in the 64-campus SUNY system. For more than 15 years, we have ranked among the top 20 institutions in the United States hosting international students according to the Institute of International Education (IIE).

Our Faculty

Our faculty are nationally and internationally renowned for their research and teaching. Faculty bring to the studio and classroom their commitment to excellence in skill building, creative problem solving and innovation as well as their deep understanding as practicing artists, makers, scholars, researchers and activists. With a 13:1 student/faculty ratio, our faculty work with each student to help them to discover their own individual creative voice and to harness the culturally transformative power of the art and design.

The highly ranked Department of Art faculty and staff consist of professionally and internationally active artists, scholars and technicians who make available a diverse range of discourse and expertise. A partial list of the fellowships and grants secured by our faculty suggests its strength: Rockefeller Foundation, Warhol Foundation, Terra Foundation, Smithsonian, Fulbright Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, the Corporation of Yaddo, Chalmers Arts Fellowship, Aperture Foundation, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin; New York Foundation for the Arts; New York State Council for the Arts, National Science Foundation and TED.

Our outstanding Department of Art Instructional and Administrative Staff are the backbone of our department. They serve our students, faculty and the greater University community on a daily basis.

Our History

Since its founding in 1846 the university at buffalo has been dedicated to pushing the boundaries of artists practice and analysis.   

In 1971, Michel Foucault, one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century, left  the University of Vincennes in Paris to teach philosophy and social theory at the university at buffalo. In doing so he joined the likes of celebrated writer Leslie Fiedler, dean of American literary critics; prize winning postmodern poets such as Robert Creeley and Charles Olson; experimental composers like Morton Feldman — in short, the cutting edge.

In the years that followed, Buffalo continued to carry on this rich tradition of progressive scholarship with James Agee, Professor of American Culture, Affiliated Faculty of Visual Studies, who was a leading documentary photographer and progressive activist. Tony Conrad was an American avant-garde video artist, experimental filmmaker, musician, composer, sound artist, teacher, and writer. Conrad was active in a variety of media since the early 1960s, he was a pioneer of both structural film and drone music. Other influential Buffalo faculty of this time included Hollis Frampton, Steina and Woody Vasulka, Peter Weibel, James Blue, Cathy Steffan and Gerald O'Grady.

Today the Department of Art features internationally recognized faculty in the fields of Bio-Art, Digital Arts, Graphic Design, Interactive Art, Multimedia, Painting, Photography, Print-media, Robotics, Sculpture and Socially Engaged Art. We have among our current faculty three award winners of the prestigious international VIDA art and artificial life award, faculty exhibiting at the Museum of Modern Art , Sundance Film Festival, Ars Electronica, Exit Art, Transmediale. Additional distinctions include: Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Warhol Foundation, Terra Foundation, Smithsonian, Fulbright Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation, American Association of University Women, American Academy in Berlin, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Chalmers Arts Fellowship.

The department of art at the university at Buffalo is ready to make the next 169 years as revolutionary as our first.

Our Impact

Our programs in the arts prepare leaders who are ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of cultural production, whether it is pursuing a professional studio practice, entering the job market in the cultural sector, or pursuing a career in academia. 

Recent Alumni of the Department of Art MFA program have significant placements in education including tenure track positions at Western Michigan University, Cleveland Institute of Art, Virginia Tech University, Herron School of Art–University of Indiana, Canisius College, Southeast Missouri State University, Oberlin College, New Jersey City University, Rowan University, New Jersey, University of Denver and Louisiana State University. 

Other positions of recent MFA and MA alumni include: Curator at Cambridge Art Galleries in Canada, Art Gallery of the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, McGraw-Hill Publishing, Buffalo Art Studio – Buffalo, NY, Albright-Knox Art Gallery – Buffalo, NY. 

Recent MFA Alumni have also shown their artwork in significant venues including: Monmouth Museum – Lincroft, NJ; Brooklyn Museum-Brooklyn, NY; Jenkins-Johnson Gallery – Chelsea, NY; Galleri Image—Århus, Denmark; Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI; Detroit International Film/Video Festival; Chelsea Art Museum, NY; Institute for Electronic Arts—Beijing; China, SACI Gallery—Florence; Italy, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian; University of Stockholm, Sweden; Pera Museum, Istanbul; Kennedy Museum of Art, Ohio University;  Center for the Book, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA; Rochester Institute of Technology, NY; National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C.;  Mattress Factory Pittsburgh, PA.