The Burchfield Penney Art Center, a museum dedicated to the art and vision of Charles E. Burchfield and regional artists, endeavors to inspire, invest in, and celebrate historical and contemporary accomplishments. As keepers of the past and explorers of “the next”, they serve as a catalyst for cultural vitality and creativity in Western New York. Through meaningful, educational, and engaging experiences, they energize the WNY community and SUNY Buffalo State University, sustaining and enhancing culture and environment. Recognizing the diverse lived experiences of visitors, artists, volunteers, and staff, they aim to celebrate and reflect community diversity through the arts. Together, the Burchfield Penney Art Center empowers individuals to think, learn, and grow.
The Burchfield Penney, a regional art center since 1966, has expanded its commitments and activities while maintaining its focus on the works of renowned painter Charles E. Burchfield. Notably, Burchfield was the first artist to be offered a solo show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), inspiring the creation of the museum at Buffalo State University. Initially known as the Charles Burchfield Center, it was later renamed the Burchfield Art Center to support a broader range of visual expression. Under the leadership of director Anthony Bannon, the Burchfield Penney witnessed significant growth, including expansions of exhibition space and increased community support. Generous gifts from Charles Rand Penney enriched the center’s collections and national exposure. With subsequent directors, the Burchfield Penney continued to engage in community collaborations and serve a diverse audience.
The Burchfield Penney Art Center began a new chapter in 1998 with William J. Magavern II’s proposal for a new museum building, accompanied by a generous lead gift. After a decade of planning and construction, the Gwathemy Siegel & Associates-designed Burchfield Penney Art Center opened in November 2008. Recognized as one of the “Top 44 Places in the World to Visit” by The New York Times, the center continues to thrive. In 2012, Anthony Bannon returned as director after a successful tenure at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, the center showcased groundbreaking exhibitions and honored the cultural legacy of the region. Tony Bannon retired in 2017, and Dennis Kois was appointed as the executive director in 2019. In addition to visual arts, the Burchfield Penney offers an array of concerts, readings, lectures, and workshops, fostering the exchange of ideas in American aesthetics and culture.