Skip to main content
COVID-19 Information


Student drawing

Unleash Your Creativity With Art

Have you always had a passion for art? Are you great at expressing ideas visually? Are you driven, creative, and innovative? If the answer to all these questions is “yes,” you might be a perfect candidate for Buffalo State College’s art program

Matthew Tyree

Alumni Voice

Former Buffalo State art major Matthew Tyree created sculptures that reflected the lives of firefighters and emergency workers, having been one himself. His sculptures and paintings were included in an ArtSpace Buffalo exhibit in 2013 while he was a student. “It seems like there has been a resurgence of art in Buffalo,” he said. “If I can be part of that, great. That is where I want to be.”

Mural painting

Alumni Highlight

Justin Dahl, ‘06, a lecturer, remembered painting a mural at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in a service-learning course he took at Buffalo State. In 2016, students in Dahl’s mural painting course created seven masterpieces that celebrate both the history of Ellicott Creek Park and the unique use of its island as a dog park. “I wanted to do this course as a service-learning course because it adds an element to the class that shows students something about public art,” Dahl said.

Student sitting next to mural

Distinctive Program Features

Art majors have a passion for art and want to explore either their own talent or the talent of others through the critical and historical study of art. The bachelor of arts degree in art provides students with the opportunity to study a wide variety of visual arts media. Together, with basic instruction in drawing, design, and art history, students select 24 credit hours in electives in fine arts and/or design. Our art program is unlike any other. Here’s why:

  • Accreditation: Our art program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
  • Stellar faculty: Our art faculty is recognized for their research, publications, exhibitions, and performances in diverse disciplines, they also are known for their nurturing, individualized attention to students’ intellectual development.
  • Affordability: We offer the most comprehensive, relevant, and affordable visual arts undergraduate education in Western New York.
  • Czurles-Nelson Gallery: This on-campus gallery provides a forum for student and faculty creative expression and exhibition space. There are juried shows throughout the academic year for all students within the visual arts.
  • Location, location: Because Buffalo State is located in the heart of the city’s cultural corridor, students have access to enriching cultural opportunities, including the world-renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Burchfield Penney Art Center, situated on the Buffalo State campus.  
  • Two Honors Programs: Qualifying students can participate in the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program or the Dean’s Honor Program. Honors students engage in special seminars and receive individualized attention, are rewarded with scholarships and awards, and receive priority registration for classes. 
  • Individualized attention: Because most classes for art majors have 20 students or fewer students received individualized attention from their professors.
  • Numerous scholarships: The School of Arts and Humanities offers several scholarships within the different disciplines.

What Can I Do With a Visual Arts Degree?

Professional artists are creative problem-solvers. They create logos and packaging for brands; animate films and video games; illustrate books and magazine articles; and preserve artworks of the past for generations to come. Some require graduate study following the bachelor’s degree. Here are some of the most common art-related careers:

  • Advertising Creative Director
  • Animator (Film)
  • Art Conservationist
  • Art Gallery Owner/Assistant
  • Art Historian
  • Art Museum Curator
  • Art Professor
  • Art Supply Retailer
  • Art Teacher (K-12)
  • Art Therapist
  • Biological/Medical Illustrator
  • Concept/Storyboard Artist
  • Costume Designer
  • Courtroom Artist
  • Digital Illustrator
  • Display/Exhibition Planner
  • Graphic Designer
  • Industrial (Product) Designer
  • Interior Designer
  • Makeup Artist
  • Prop/Special Effects Designer
  • Publishing Layout Specialist
  • Technical Illustrator
  • Textbook Illustrator
  • Video Game Animator
  • Wedding or Family Photographer

Program-Related Opportunities

As you can see, art careers are very diverse and exciting. However, the arts fields are also notoriously very competitive. Students are highly encouraged to participate in opportunities and experiences during their time at Buffalo State that will help them stand out, make connections, and network upon graduation. Most importantly, since art students are primarily hired for their portfolios, it is important that students practice their chosen skill as much as possible. Campus opportunities available to art students include:

  • Anne Frank Project: Inspired by the wisdom of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, AFP is a social justice festival that uses storytelling, performances, and art exhibits as a vehicle for community-building, conflict resolution, and identity exploration. Students are encouraged to participate.
  • Creative Expressions Learning Community: This allows visual arts, design, and theater students to use their imaginations and explore new visual environments in a living community.
  • Student Art Sale: Every year, students within the visual arts can enter artwork in the campus’s Student Art Sale. Students keep 75 percent of their sales and receive unique exposure.
  • Visual Arts Board: A student organization dedicated to uniting Buffalo State’s visual arts community.
  • Coalition for Ceramic Designers: A student club that invites nationally known ceramic artists as guest speakers, hosts kiln firing events, and collaboratively presents work in local galleries. 
Student and faculty member

Research Opportunities

Art students can participate in undergraduate research, a student-faculty collaboration to examine, create, and share knowledge or works in ways commensurate with practices in the discipline. Because undergraduate research is considered by many to be one of the most powerful ways for students to learn, the process is just as important as the outcome. Undergraduate research is an opportunity to apply what you have learned in class to solve real-world problems, as well as to learn things that you might not typically cover in class.


Back to Top

Art & Design Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Upton Hall 402 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-6032 •  Fax: (716) 878-4231