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Founded in 1967, the Dowd Gallery presents up to seven exhibitions each year featuring work primarily by nationally and internationally acclaimed contemporary artists and maintains a permanent collection of over 900 objects dating from the 13th through the 21st centuries. The gallery’s mission is to enrich and intellectually broaden viewers’ notions about the nature of art and to display, interpret, collect and preserve art for the benefit of the SUNY Cortland community and the New York State region.
Each spring semester, the juried Student Select exhibition provides students with the opportunity to showcase their work in a gallery setting. It also allows the public a glimpse of the visual art being created on campus. The Faculty Biennial occurs every two years and highlights recent work by members of the Art and Art History Department. This special show makes it feasible for students to view finished projects by their mentors and gives the campus community and region the chance to contemplate art in the department's wide range of media.
Educational programs, such as artist’s talks, lectures, performances, and workshops, accompany all exhibitions in order to deepen intellectual engagement with the artwork on view and foster an appreciation for art and its cultural importance in general. All exhibitions and programs are free and open to the public.
Possibilities for student involvement in the gallery include employment through the Federal Work-Study Program, internships, volunteering, submitting work for Student Select, and joining the student-run Art Exhibition Association.