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Department of Art

Our art students live, create and study in a unique art environment within the context of a stimulating liberal arts tradition.

Art students have the advantage of working closely and sharing ideas with other creative people in music, dance, drama and writing. This total art environment provides a challenging stimulus and has given the SUNY Potsdam art program a reputation for excellence.

Graduates from the Department of Art are prepared to continue learning at the graduate level or pursue a wide range of professions. SUNY Potsdam students have developed careers in the fine arts, art administration, art therapy, digital design, K-12 and university teaching, illustration, museum curation, audiovisual administration, publishing, gallery ownership, interior design, architecture, commercial printing, pattern making, photojournalism and studio ceramics.


“I gained so much direction and guidance from the creative minds of SUNY Potsdam’s art professors — they put me on the fast track into a bright and shining future.”

Jillian Petercsak Art Studio Alumna
Liza’s Life in Lines

Liza Paige ’12, a Potsdam native and adjunct instructor of art at SUNY Potsdam, is hard at work on her next project—an interactive optical illusion drawn entirely in outlines, with props chosen to help replicate the feeling of a college dormitory dwelling. The “2D Dorm Room” is an immersive art experience that will be revealed in the Lougheed Learning Commons in time for the 2024 LoKo Arts Festival starting May 1.

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Interweaving Nature and Art

After receiving a full scholarship to pursue her BFA in visual arts at SUNY Potsdam, Hong Hong ’11 has parlayed her undergraduate experiences into an impressive career as an artist and professor. Recently, she received a $50,000 grant through the United States Artists Fellowship, which along with the Guggenheim and the MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants, is considered one of the most prestigious awards an artist can receive.

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Art for the Making of It

Sperling '06 used his art degree to build the foundation for his rise to international acclaim and a creative style that blurs the line between two-and-three dimensional forms.

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From Liberal Arts to Big Tech

Just over a decade ago, Daniel Romlein '12 graduated from SUNY Potsdam with a degree in studio art. Now he works at one of the biggest technology companies in the world—combining a myriad of liberal arts skills from his undergraduate years that became the foundation for an impressive career at Google and YouTube as a user experience (UX) designer.

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Unwavering Trajectory

After devising an ambitious plan to complete her undergraduate degree in just three years, Cashlynn (Jaggers) Colbert ’19 & ’21 immediately landed a job as an art teacher at Salmon River Central School. Now she is back at SUNY Potsdam, wrapping up an educational technology specialist master’s degree program at the College, all while teaching art full time in the North Country.

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Discovering Her Path

A passion for the arts took root at an early age for Marie Amell ’21, who is now wrapping up her senior year at SUNY Potsdam, and completing an animated film for her Presidential Scholar’s project—all while preparing for a career as an artist.

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Landscape of Discovery

As he mastered sculpting, painting and graphic design in SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Art, Evan Blondell ’06 had no way of knowing that he was planting the seeds for a fruitful career as a landscape architect. Armed with an artistic eye, and years of training, Blondell now works in major urban centers to transform the landscape into breathtaking parks that intertwine modern design with nature.

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Murals for the Masses

Amy Swartele, who has been a professor in the Department of Art for the past 20 years, just completed a vibrant mural in downtown Potsdam! After securing a grant for professional development, she has been expanding the scope of her work and learning the nuances of creating large scale murals—all with the goal of launching SUNY Potsdam's first-ever mural painting class in the fall of 2021!

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High Fashion Mask-erade

The accomplished fashion designer and savvy entrepreneur Saad Hajidin ’88 has turned his company InPhorm into an ally in the fight against COVID-19—shifting his focus from manufacturing women’s activewear to producing protective face masks. The SUNY Potsdam alumnus has been working with his factory in Thailand to manufacture protective face masks that are fashionable and eco-forward, while also meeting guidelines set forth by the FDA.

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Morgan Sychtysz ’20

Morgan Sychtysz ’20 completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual arts in just three years. After first appearing in the annual Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition at the Gibson Gallery last spring, her “fruit basket” oil paintings were then accepted into the SUNY Art at the Rockefeller Institute exhibition—a year-long art show depicting some of the best art from faculty and students within the SUNY system. Sychtysz is now focused on completing her certificate in art education, with the ultimate goal of being a K-12 art teacher when she graduates next spring.

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John Alleyne '14

SUNY Potsdam alumnus John Alleyne ’14 has found great success since graduating with a BFA in studio art five years ago. He went on to work at the Museum of Modern Art, received his master’s degree from Louisiana State University and now works as an artist and adjunct professor at three universities in and around Baton Rouge.

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Iggy Beerbower - Cultivating Creativity

Since she started at SUNY Potsdam five years ago, Assistant Professor Iggy Beerbower has been bringing her passion for photography to her students—most recently by overseeing a unique travel course to Cuba with seven SUNY Potsdam students

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Graphic Design & New Media Major

SUNY Potsdam now offers new baccalaureate programs in the vibrant and growing field of graphic design and media arts. The College's Department of Art offers two tracks in the major-one leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree, and another leading to the rigorous Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.