North Country sustainability advocate receives SUNY Chancellor’s award for work in creative arts


SUNY Canton Professor Matthew J. Burnett of Saranac Lake received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities (photo: SUNY Canton)

CANTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — A SUNY Canton Professor, who has been noted to be an advocate for the North Country, has earned a statewide award for his work in the creative arts.

SUNY Canton announced that Canino School of Engineering Technology Faculty Member Matthew J. Burnett has received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

According to SUNY Canton, Burnett has earned international acclaim through his work with combining nature and conservation into creative pursuits.

“Professor Burnett’s art is a product of his rural Adirondack upbringing,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “His work highlights the natural beauty of upstate New York and infuses his passion for environmental protection and activism. His art is not observed, it is experienced.”

Although Burnett uses many artistic mediums, his recent work in 3D printing technologies lead him to create interactive public works.

Burnett’s Contemporary and SUNY Canton Professor Christopher Sweeny, Ph.D., commented on his work.

“He uses many perspectives to guide his pairing of fine arts and technology,” said Sweeney. “Whether floating 3D-printed computer programmed vessels on the river or projecting enhanced video onto monumental forms, the immensity of Mr. Burnett’s vision insists on the observer becoming a willing participant, sometimes even a builder, of the experience.”

However, SUNY Canton noted that Burnett is best known on the local-level for developing the week-long Adirondack Experience Photography Course.

He was also one of the college’s first faculty members to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by 3D printing face shields for frontline medical workers. His current area of research includes recycling plastic filament for 3D printing.

Burtnett earned his Master of Fine Arts from the Maine College of Art and his Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Platssburgh.

The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are SUNY System-level honors conferred to acknowledge and provide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

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