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Careers & Alumni News

Artist Spotlight: Jillian Taylor, SUNY Buffalo State: BFA Painting 2017 and Masters Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies 2020

Alumni: Where Are They Now? (VIDEO)

Aurora Hughes Villa
March 2021:

Aurora Hughes Villa graduated from Buffalo State in 1995 with a BFA in Ceramics and BS in Art Education. In 1995, she received the Stanley A. Czurles Award for Excellence in Art Education - an award given for the most outstanding art education student in the graduating class. In 1998, she received an MFA in ceramics from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Aurora was recently recognized with the 2020-2021 Utah Art Education Higher Education Art Educator of the Year award.
Full story HERE!

Gerald Mead

Gerald Mead, a longtime lecturer in the Art & Design Department and alum of the department (BS in Design, 1986) was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from Niagara University. The degree was conferred during their 2020 commencement ceremony, a virtual event held on the campus on July 26.
HERE is a short clip from the ceremony.


Stephen Saracino

BS In Art Ed. 1970, MS in Art Ed. 1975

October 2020:
Stephen Saracino, Professor of Metalsmithing in Art & Design, received a First Place Award for his entry, "Cartoon Music Series, Vestige Vessel #7" (30" x 8" x 8," Copper with turquoise wax patina) for a sculpture he entered in the New York State Sculpture Exhibition. The Exhibition will take place at the VIEW Center for Arts and Culture in Old Forge, NY.  A second accepted piece, "Melancholia" (30" x 7" x 7," Sterling silver, Mokume Gane), was awarded an Honorable Mention. The Exhibition runs from November 13th, 2020 - March 31st, 2021. An online reception can be viewed November 18, 5pm at

Cartoon Music Series, Vestige Vessel #7:




December 2020:
Stephen F. Saracino, Professor of Metalsmithing in the Art and Design Program, has been invited to participate in a curated contemporary metals exhibition to be held at, Kent State University, in Kent, Ohio.

"Constructed Answer" is an exhibition inspired by tragedy, trauma, and violence that celebrates the resiliency of a human spirit. The exhibit was curated in response to a Commemorative Medallion made by Philadelphia College of Art students (now University of the Arts) in honor of the students who perished at Kent State University on May 4, 1970. In recognition of this anniversary the entire university is developing programming to encourage a dialogue on violence, trauma and the resiliency of individuals.

Professor Saracino will exhibit three of his works: "Columbine Survival Bracelet," Lockerbie Flight Bracelet," and "War Trophy. Nation Building. 3rd. Place."

The Exhibition will take place in the main Gallery of the Center for the Visual Arts on the Kent campus from January 24th through February 28th, 2020.

First two images:
"Columbine Survival Bracelet”

Next two:
“Lockerbie Flight Bracelet”

Last four:
“War Trophy. Nation Building. 3rd. Place”


Taylor Correa:

Taylor Correa

2015 BFA Painting alumna Taylor Correa is featured in Southwest Art Magazine,”21 under 31: Young Artists to Buy Now." CONGRATULATIONS, Taylor!
Full story HERE!

Natalie Brown:

Natalie Brown
Natalie Brown graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Buffalo State College in 2010. She graduated with her Master’s Degree in Art History with an Advanced Study in Critical Museum Studies from the University at Buffalo in 2012. During her academic career, she interned at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Buffalo Museum of Science where she gained her initial experience in the museum setting. Since her graduation, Natalie has pursued a career in the arts in Buffalo and North Tonawanda, NY. 

In 2012, she founded the Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda where she now acts as the sole curator and event coordinator.  Natalie renovated the once vacant storefront into an art gallery that now serves as a venue for multimedia art exhibitions and events for the public, including an annual street fair that features over fifty artists. She utilizes the gallery as a place to engage those who appreciate the arts, collaborate with local artists and students, and activate a renewed enthusiasm for art in the community.

Natalie Brown is now an Associate at Arts Services Initiative of Western New York. In this position, She uses her expertise in program development and project management to advance ASI’s ongoing efforts towards capacity building, collaboration and advocacy for the cultural sector in the WNY region.

Natalie was honored with the Women in Leadership of WNY award in October 2015. She was awarded the Tonawanda News Women in Distinction Award in October 2013. She previously served on the Carnegie Art Center Board and currently volunteers there. She has also been a panelist on the 2015 NYSCA Grant.

Melissa Ellis:

Melissa Ellis graduated magna cum laude from Buffalo State College in 2014 with a BA in Art History. After graduation, Melissa interned at the Albright Knox Art Gallery with the curator of Public Art. She spent 2014-2017 as the Retail/Exhibitions Manager at the WNY Book Arts Center, an arts educational non-profit organization in Buffalo, NY. In the fall of 2017 she started her graduate studies at the University at Buffalo in Critical Museum Studies with a concentration in Arts Management.
Nicole Schmidt:

Nicole Schmidt graduated in 2014 with a BA in Art History and minors in Chemistry and German. Since graduation, Nicole has pursued internships across the country in art conservation, among which are the National Parks Service at Harpers Ferry, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Georgia Archives, and Williamstown Art Conservation Center. She has treated a variety of art work including historic maps, books, firearms, textiles, metal sculptures, ceramics, and taxidermy. She is currently applying to graduate programs in art conservation and loves visiting Buffalo when she can. 

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