What is your role at Villa and what does that entail?
I am an Assistant Professor of Fine Art. I teach foundations (Drawing, 2D Design, Color Theory), Painting, Contemporary Art History and Senior Thesis. Additionally, I advise students in the Integrated Arts and Fine Arts programs and sit on a number of committees. I also teach at an after school, high school program called the Buffalo Center for Art and Technology via a partnership between them and Villa Maria where students can receive college credit for arts courses.
What do you find to be most enjoyable about it?
There’s a lot I find enjoyable about it. I appreciate the connections with students and how each iteration of a class is different in ways that keep you re-thinking your approach. What might fly with one group of students may not with another. And there’s always room for adjustment and improvement. I also appreciate how teaching art fundamentals keeps me in touch with those foundational concerns about art-making.
Share something unique about your program.
The small size of our program means that students get a lot of assistance and attention from their instructors. We are directly assisting them in very atomized ways, like problem solving how to realize creative projects and assisting with tertiary tasks like framing, installation, and documentation. Also, we have individual studio spaces for students to use during their senior year. This is pretty uncommon for an undergraduate program.
Tell us more about your program.
Our program traditionally offered only an Associate degree but has been expanding in recent years. Within the last decade, the program implemented a four-year Integrated Arts BFA (an interdisciplinary art and design degree), and just this year we were approved for a four-year Fine Arts BFA.
What are some things you do outside of Villa that relate to your field?
I’m a practicing artist who spends a lot of time at the studio outside of work hours. In the past year, I’ve worked on various exhibitions including a solo show at a non-profit gallery, a painting exhibition at a commercial gallery, and a group exhibition at a college gallery. I also work at Starlight Studio and Art Gallery, an arts program for adults with developmental disabilities. There, I am a teaching artist and curator of a series of exhibitions called Side by Each. I also do contract work for galleries, including co-curating an ongoing annual exhibition series at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, and some gallery construction work elsewhere, building walls, pedestals, and more.
What are some of your professional accomplishments?
I’ve exhibited widely throughout the region and was represented for 8 years by the Nina Freudenheim Gallery in Buffalo, NY. I’ve had solo exhibitions there, the Buffalo Arts Studio, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Exhibit A (Corning, NY), and elsewhere. I’ve been in group exhibitions at The Albright Knox Art Gallery, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, RIT’s City Gallery and more. I am in the collections of The Burchfield Penney, The Albright Knox, Hodgson Russ, Central Michigan University, and various private collections. I was a 2016 recipient of a Franklin Furnace Fund grant for performance art. I also was a feature performance artist at Nuit Blanche in Toronto, Ontario in 2014.
Share a fun fact about yourself.
I lived in a warehouse full of (mostly) artists for ten years before it was shut down by the city for fire-code violations.
Some of Professor Butler’s work from Play/Ground 2021
> Learn more about Villa Maria’s Fine Art program here: www.villa.edu/academics/fine-arts