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Villa Cuts the Ribbon on its Digital Media Art Center

By December 8, 2022Press Release

Another major renovation project has been completed at Villa Maria. This morning, the College cut the ribbon to mark the official grand opening of its brand new, state-of-the-art Digital Media Art Center, or the DMAC.

From left to right: Game Design Professor Jeff Werner, Animation Professor Valery Amborski, President Dr. Matthew Giordano, Filmmaking Professor Sarah Mann, Executive Vice President & Project Lead Brian Emerson

While the completion of the DMAC was celebrated today, the project has been in the works since last year. In fact, the vision for this space was formed in early 2021 when the College introduced its Free Books Program.

“It was only because we were able to take that bold step of offering our books and supplies to our students as part of our tuition that we were able to open up this space,” said Villa Maria’s President Dr. Matthew Giordano. “It’s a big step for Villa as we continue to be a leader in creating a more equitable and prosperous Buffalo. It’s particularly a big step for our efforts to be an educational leader for all things digital media arts.”

With books and supplies being hand delivered to students for free, the need for a physical bookstore on campus was eliminated and a huge space in a central location became available. “We knew we wanted to make a strategic investment in the digital media arts, our game design, animation, and film programs, as well as the ground floor of our Main Building,” said Brian Emerson, Villa Maria’s executive vice president who spearheaded the project.

“The DMAC provides the highest-level equipment and coolest learning space for our digital media art students,” continued Emerson. “There is no other space like the DMAC in Western New York. It is an investment in our students and another testament to our commitment to their success.”

The conceptualization and construction of the DMAC was a collaborative effort that demonstrates that the College’s commitment to student success carries throughout the entire Villa Maria community. “The DMAC was a Villa project through and through,” said Emerson. “From prioritizing its use for the digital arts, to its design and construction, this was our project. We received valuable input on the design and building process from Game Design Professor Jeffrey Warner. Graphic Design alumna Brittney Sikora, ‘14, designed the mural on the front of the room, Interior Design alumnae Jamie Smith, ‘18, and Sara Evans, ‘10, assisted with the design and placement of the furniture. The maintenance staff worked their tails off to make this signature space a reality.”

A rendering of the DMAC mural designed by graphic design alumna Brit Sikora, ’14.

“This space was very much needed,” said Brianna Scutt, a senior animation major. “The animation program is growing here at Villa and the computer lab space was becoming limited. All animation, game design, and filmmaking students have this quiet, dedicated space to work on projects. This is especially important for seniors in my program.”

With the DMAC project officially complete, the College is already focusing on what comes next. “This was the first of investments in improvement of this ground floor area and there is more to come,” concluded Emerson.

Watch Channel 4’s coverage of the ribbon cutting event: