For over half a century, SUNY New Paltz has been widely known for its highly professional art studio program and its distinguished faculty of practicing artists. Instructors mentor students in their pursuit of creative interests and for careers in the arts. The art department offers a variety of professional and liberal arts course work for undergraduates and graduates. Comprehensive MFA programs in ceramics, metal, painting/drawing, printmaking, and sculpture serve 50 candidates. The department facilitates a studio practice in traditional and innovative technologies within and across disciplines.
Building on its solid tradition and rigorous pedagogy, the metal program has earned the distinction of being ranked number one by U.S. News & World Report. The program is directed by Professor Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, and includes Michael Gayk and Lynn Batchelder as prominent faculty, and Jamie Bennett as professor emeritus. Professor Matthew Friday, the graduate coordinator, oversees the interdisciplinary critical studies component of the art studio curriculum. The program’s outstanding alumni maintain continually active careers and many teach at university programs across the United States.
SUNY New Paltz inspires and challenges students to combine making and thinking toward dynamic outcomes. Faculty encourage students to have a strong sense of responsibility, self-reliance, and confidence. With the intellectual capability and motivation to move the field in new directions, New Paltz students determine their own course of study while forming a vital community of inquiry and action. Faculty, students, and alumni collectively invest in speculative approaches to studio practice in ways that both define and expand the field. The community carries these values forward through active scholarship that is sustained and highly regarded. All recognize and scrutinize craft’s relationship to the fields of design, the arts, and cultural studies, sometimes celebrating productive convergences with trans-disciplinary outcomes. This environment fosters the passion for making, regard for skill, knowledge of the history of this discipline, and the significance of our actions as metalsmiths and jewelers.
Designed to give students a broad range of technical opportunities, the 10,000-square-foot metal studio is fully equipped to accommodate most hands-on metalsmithing and jewelry-making practices—from fine work in precious metals to large scale, formed, and welded constructions.
The main studio consists of a large classroom and open workspace, which includes forming and smithing tools and general machinery such as band saws, drill presses, shears, rolling mills, grinders, sanders, a metal lathe, and mill. Adjoining the main space are task rooms, each designed for specific processes such as annealing, mold making, casting, electroforming, anodizing, etching, patination, laser cutting, welding, and blacksmithing. The facility includes a computer lab running current design software for both 2D and 3D outputs.
Separate BFA and MFA studios include individual spaces for all majors. These semi-private spaces are equipped with soldering stations (oxygen/propane, acetylene, and compressed air), fume exhaust hoods, sinks, workbenches, kilns, and storage space.
A central ventilation system creates safe air quality throughout the entire metal studio.
Department-wide resources include the Makerbot Innovation Center and Digital Fabrication Lab, which houses CAD-CAM equipment including 3D printers, scanners, laser cutters, and a large-format CNC router.
Myra Mimlitsch-Gray, professor and head of the metal program
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Myra Mimlitsch-Gray's research explores metalsmithing as subject and object, engaging the field's history, methods, and outcomes. She produces objects as portraits and social indicators, and explores utility as a critical strategy. Awards include the 2014 Individual Artist Fellowship in Crafts/Sculpture from the New York Foundation for the Arts; the 2012 United States Artists Fellowship in Crafts and Traditional Arts; and Individual Artist Fellowships from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (1995), the National Endowment for the Arts (1994), and the New York Foundation for the Arts (1997, 2005). Mimlitsch-Gray was named Master Metalsmith and awarded a retrospective exhibition by the Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. She received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the State University of New York. Mimlitsch-Gray's work is widely exhibited and included in public collections such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museums of Scotland, the Royal College of Art, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Michael Gayk, assistant professor of metal/digital design and fabrication
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Michael Gayk earned his academic credentials in jewelry design and metalsmithing, yet his professional path challenges his pedigree and provides great insight into the human condition. Projects that range from industrial welding, brand character design at General Motors, architectural modeling via parametric math simulation, and product design for home goods have influenced the way Gayk observes and acts upon his environment. Most recently he has been involved in collaborations on biological tissue generation, 3D modeling and simulation of kidney circulatory systems. Gayk’s Plural Studios designs and produces jewelry manufactured by means of digital fabrication. His work is represented in the GM Design Collection and Polk Industries Corporate Collection.
Lynn Batchelder, visiting assistant professor of metal
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Lynn Batchelder's work is rooted in the drawing process; she translates the quality of the drawn line into metal as she seamlessly moves between creating jewelry, objects, and drawings. Batchelder was awarded the 2013–2014 artist-in-residence at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She was a visiting lecturer of art metals at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Batchelder's work is exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad—most recently in the prestigious Talente exhibition at the International Trades Fair in Munich, and in a solo show at the Heidi Lowe Gallery in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
RECENT GRADUATES: If you recently received a degree--BA, BFA, MA, or MFA--from this university, everything you need to know to upload your graduate portfolio can be found at this link.