Grand Opening of Daemen International Center for Excellence in Animation is January 7, 2012

Daemen College International Center for Excellence in Animation will be Located in Buffalo’s Tri-Main Center 


December 22, 2011


Media:   Mike Andrei

             Director-College Relations





Inquiries:     Dr. Laura Watts Sommer

                  Director-Visual and Performing Arts

                  Daemen College




Daemen College will present its new International Center for Excellence in Animation (ICEA) in Buffalo’s Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main Street, Suite 530, on January 7, 2012, 6-9 p.m. Occupying 17,000 square feet, the Center is equipped with five studios; 3 editing rooms; a library and video library; and a screening room, seating 80.


Daemen College will also hold an OPEN HOUSE for interested students, 1-3 p.m., Saturday, January 21, at the ICEA facilities in the Tri-Main Center.


The Opening will feature the introduction to Buffalo of Scott Holmes, the new Daemen College Academic Director of Animation, who will begin his position in February of 2012. Holmes is an accomplished animator whose film credits include animation work on Paul; Hellboy 2; The Lord of the Rings: The Twin Towers; Garfield; and Stuart Little.  Moreover, his experience at major animation studios Nickelodeon; Weta Workshop; Double Negative; Sony Pictures Imageworks; and Rhythm and Hues-Los Angeles will add to the industry perspective and industry contacts at the Daemen Center, and will work to foster the development of the field within Buffalo.


Through the Center, Daemen offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation; the College began accepting students into the program for the Fall, 2011 semester. Daemen’s Animation Program, operated through the International Center, is structured with a partnership with the National University of Mongolia in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia. It is also fully integrated with a Western New York animation studio, IBC Digital. In addition, graduates of the Daemen Visual & Performing Arts Department are creating original still and animated works, which will be exhibited at the January 7 opening.


“The increasing complexity of today’s world hinges more than ever on complicated and widespread means of communication,” said Dr. Laura Watts Sommer, Director of the Visual and Performing Arts at Daemen College.


“The International Center for Excellence in Animation will train students to employ art and technology to affect communication in all its forms: entertainment, information dispersal, performance, mass communication, international understanding, and intercultural awareness.”


Located on the 5th floor of the Tri-Main Center, around the corner from Buffalo Arts Studios, the Center encourages students to place themselves within an artistic context, and inspires them to look beyond Western New York to a global artistic community.  Its studio spaces, converted from the Tri-Main Center’s industrial past, provide the International Center with a look more similar to a warehouse in New York’s fashionable Meat Packing District than a College academic setting.


The program is unique in its response to industry feedback, responding to professionals who see a deficiency of animators with a high level of artistic training.  Students in the Daemen Animation Program will be trained as artists and thinkers, and will be able to transfer their creative strengths directly into the field of animation – in many contexts the most pervasive art form of the 21st century. The Daemen program will provide students with specialized technical training in 2D and 3D Animation within a Fine Arts context. The curriculum will also foster the development of well-rounded learning experiences, better enabling students to actively participate on multiple levels of visual communication. 


“Studios desire students with strong creative problem solving techniques and a powerful authorial voice,” noted Dr. Sommer. “Combined with a focus on fundamentals, both in art and academia, the creative focus trains students to act as professionals in a variety of capacities well after graduation.”


The Daemen Animation Program, as part of the International Center, is built around multiple strengths, recognized by animation professionals and business leaders. These include the combination of the flexibility and breadth of a Liberal Arts program; the strong visual skills of a Fine Arts program; and the technological opportunities presented by upper level, specialized animation instruction.


To enable students in the program to gain career experience, Daemen has entered into discussions with animation studio IBC Digital.  Based in Buffalo, NY, IBC Digital has been a strong creative force in the industry, producing national commercials, animated television series, and interstitial projects for clients such as MTV; Disney; PBS; and brands including Trix; Cocoa Puffs; Reese’s; and Kid Cuisine.


“Daemen’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation degree is truly world class,” said IBC Digital President Ben Porcari. “Students will have all of the advantages of an accredited degree program, a strong arts foundation, and integrated international partnerships and industry programs. Students will be well-positioned upon graduation to reach their full potential in this growing industry.”


IBC Digital will be an integral partner in the Center, sharing facilities, creative projects, and international collaborations. The partnership allows students to benefit from the professional experiences and training garnered through available internships and post-graduate employment opportunities. The co-location of an industry partner with the academic program will allow for greater success to these programs for all qualified students. Additionally, it allows the curriculum to develop alongside evolving industry needs. The partnership provides a necessary experiential component to strengthen technical training, and direct students to the areas of study to which they are best suited.



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