Opalka Gallery is pleased to announce an exciting slate of events for the Fall of 2015. Beginning with the opening of “From Concept to Console: Art and Aesthetics in Video Game Design” on September 4, the community is invited to attend artist lectures, film screenings and dance performances, among other programming.


Dave Phillips Skylanders 1From Concept to Console: Art and Aesthetics in Video Game Design
September 4 – December 13

Opening Reception: Friday, September 4, 6-8 p.m.

Curator’s Tours: 5:30 p.m.
Friday, October 2
Friday, November 6
Thursday, December 3

Panel Discussion 

Women in Game Design
Sunday, October 25, 3-5 p.m.

Women make up almost half of all video game players yet sexism thrives in the gamer world, as evidenced by last year’s "Gamergate," in which female game developers were subjected to online sexual harassment.

Moving beyond the headlines, how do women in game design envision the future of gaming? A panel of women from across the gaming industry, from art and design to engineering, will discuss their careers and the issues facing women in gaming.

Co-moderated by Opalka Director Elizabeth Greenberg and Jennifer J. Goodall, Director of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Women in Technology Program at UAlbany and Co-Lead, New York Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math (NY STEAM) Girls Collaborative.

Panelists include:

  • Arzu Fallahi, Concept Artist at Vicarious Visions
  • Danielle Godbout, User Interface Artist at Vicarious Visions
  • Kathleen Ruiz, Associate Professor of Integrated Arts, RPI
  • Tobi Saulnier, Founder and CEO, 1st Playable Productions
  • Jennifer Schneidereit, Game Developer, Co-founder of Nyamyam, Ltd.

Film Series 

IndieGame: The Movie (2012)
Thursday, September 24, 6:30 p.m.

This Sundance award-winning documentary follows the underdogs of the video game industry, indie game developers, who sacrifice money, health and sanity to realize their lifelong dreams of sharing their visions with the world.

GTFO: The Movie (2015)
Thursday, October 8, 6:30 p.m.

Sparked by a public display of sexual harassment in 2012, the film pries open the video game world to explore a $20 billion industry riddled with gender discrimination and misogyny.

Us and the Game Industry Poster

Tron (1982)
Thursday, October 22, 6:30 p.m.

The original cult classic, starring Jeff Bridges as a computer programmer who is abducted and transported into the digital world of a video game.

Tilt: The Battle to Save Pinball (2006)
Thursday, November 19, 6:30 p.m.

"Tilt" tells the story of "Pinball 2000," a clever attempt at resuscitating pinball as video games were on the rise. It’s a story about personality and passion, of bold success dizzyingly followed by stunning failure.

Us and the Game Industry (2014)
Thursday, December 3, 6:30 p.m.

This documentary film explores the motivations and processes of computer game designers at the frontier of experimental game development. According to the Los Angeles Times, "It should absorb gamers and non-gamers alike." 

Artist Lecture Series 

Co-sponsored by the Opalka Gallery and the Department of Art + Design.

All lectures are free and open to the public. 

Dave Phillips, concept artist on Skylanders: Swap Force
Tuesday, September 8, 6:30 p.m.

Focusing on concept art and art direction at game studio Vicarious Visions (Activision/Blizzard), Dave Phillips was a lead artist on Skylanders: Swap Force. He also illustrates for editorial, young adult, and children's literature. Website: 

McElligott Mad ScientistVirginia Durruty, exhibition designer and architect
Tuesday, October 6, 6:30 p.m.

Virginia Durruty, an architect and art exhibition designer based in Boston, designed the Opalka Gallery’s exhibition "From Concept to Console: Art and Aesthetics in Video Game Design." Before starting as an independent consultant, she spent six years at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where she was responsible for the overall design concept and installation of temporary exhibitions.

Matt McElligott, author and illustrator
Tuesday, November 10, 6:30 p.m.

Matt McElligott is the award-winning author and illustrator of fourteen books for children of all ages, including the new Mad Scientist Academy series, Even Aliens Need Snacks, Even Monsters Need Haircuts, and the Benjamin Franklinstein series. Website:

Fernando Orellana, new media artist
Tuesday, December 8, 6:30 p.m.

New media artist Fernando Orellana has collaborated with robots for over twenty years to make artwork. As a machine designer, a technologist, and a user, Orellana has blurred the line between himself and machine in the creative process. Website:

Afterschool Program

Machinarium Joseph

Wednesdays, October 7-November 4, 3:45-5:30 p.m.

Opalka Gallery is excited to announce a new afterschool program for kids ages 7 and up. In this 5-week class, students will learn about some of the interesting ways artists create characters, backgrounds, and special effects for video games. After studying original examples of video game art, they will get to make their own using different styles such as computer graphics, collage, hand drawing and painting, and claymation. All materials will be supplied. Contact Amy Griffin at or 518-292-8607 for more information or download the Registration Form.

PechaKucha Night

Friday, October 16, 6:30 p.m.

Short talks by interesting people. PechaKucha is a format in which speakers present 20 slides for 20 seconds each. Contact the gallery if you're interested in presenting.

Kathy Ceceri
“Life as Non-Gamers (And How That Worked Out)”
Lots of parents threaten to take away all their kids games -- but we actually did it. The results were not what we expected.

Stacy McIlduff
“My Double Life as Dragonborn”
Discussion will focus on “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” drawing parallels between video games, art and life.

Daniel Nester

“The Search for Desiderata”
One of the most popular—dare we say best-selling?—poems of the 20th century, “Desiderata” is unabashed in its New Agey wisdom. “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence,” it begins. In our current age of portentous manifestos, “Desiderata” serves as a template for making grand statements we can all up-vote. But where did it come from, who wrote it, and how did it get so famous?"

Caro Williams-Pierce
"I'm a designer, and so are you"
I started designing online mathematics lessons and interactions years ago, but it was only recently that I actually felt comfortable saying, I'm a designer. Being a designer felt like a claim to some sort of sophisticated and brilliant knowledge, as if I was placing myself alongside Escher and Edison and the folks at Apple who appear to magically know what you want when you swipe just so. But then I realized: all day and every day, I design experiences. And so do you

Shari Hoffman
"What’s Your Favorite Girl Scout Cookie... or Why I Like the Girl Scouts"
There is a lot to like about Girl Scouts besides cookies.

Gregor Wynnyczuk
“Words on Things”
Certain works of art remain overlooked and incomplete until the moment their fertile void draws forth an unanticipated meaning, suddenly completing the long stagnant process. Or something like that.

Jamey Stevenson
“Aspiring to Addiction: Game Design and Compulsive Play”
Game designers tend to embrace the addictive properties of games, openly striving to create systems that ensnare players in ongoing loops of compulsive behavior. Notable examples can be found in many games that adopt the "free to play" business model, which is heavily reliant on encouraging habitual usage patterns in order to extract as much money as possible from players. This talk will explore the ramifications of this approach, from the perspective of a game designer who has worked on a number of free to play titles.


Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company
Friday, November 6, 6:30 p.m. and Friday, November 20, 6:30 p.m.

In response to the current exhibit, Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company uses a unique mixture of technology, video game design and music with live dance to generate a performance experience for both dancer and audience that is filled with vitality, intrigue, unpredictability, interaction and expectancy.