Categories: Latest News.

Artist Training Recap

While most claim to detest the boundaries of a cubicle, it in some ways is an interactive pathway for communication.  Water cooler conversation surprisingly brings an office closer together through molded camaraderie and group bonding. However, as an artist or a teaching artist this “water cooler” experience is harder to come by.  So, we find that most of the artists improve their practices, if not based upon past experience, then with the aid of Young Audiences staff and lead artists.  

Conversely though, nothing beats the empathy of an individual who has experienced those same trials, tribulations and successes in similar manners or by congruent occurrences.  The artists’ training held in June was exactly the channel needed to reinvigorate aforementioned ideas and concepts in addition to introducing fresh approaches and perspectives.

The ability to see how other artists present their concepts as a performance or activity with an attached model was a very helpful way to further construct their individual dynamics.  This training- not despite- but because of its longer duration remained interesting and self-sustainable due the group talk that remained a consistent component of training.  The catered lunch helped as well…  There was quite a commotion about some diet breaking cookies and brownies. 

More specifically, the discussed models such as the IDEA –Identify, Define, Explore, Assess– and the SCS model –Experience, Understand, Create, Connect– whose ideals parallel one another, cover essential aspects of the process by which children learn.  Learning these models and subsequently watching the video evidence displayed through interview style video clips was a great transition into application. 

During the second day’s session the progress continued.  Artists collaborated on creating a public service announcement. This daunting task ended up reflecting a lot of positive thoughts and creative approaches. What appeared to be difficult became -in actuality- a very achievable task.

“The “brainstorming” sessions let me learn about the connections to emotional, natural and physical trauma to water and how humans are directly connected to these changes in the same ways.  Also about the idea of yelling to discipline students and how the body automatically turns down volume to compensate for the loud sounds” – Annette Daniels Taylor.



Categories: Latest News.

Curators of Culture Summer Program in Downtown Buffalo

Young Audiences’ first Teen Summer program, Curators of Culture: Buffalo Style! Will provide young people with behind the scenes access to Buffalo’s most creative businesses, artists, and art venues.  The program is free to teens living in Buffalo or Erie County, and is offered for 8 weeks noon-6pm Wednesday through Saturday. Using hands on teaching artist lead workshops and field trips. This multi-disciplinary program will bring the arts to life asking students to envision their future and to reflect on the community around them. 

The program will be based at the Downtown Central Library, located at 1 Lafayette Square, and begins June 27, 2012.  For further information call 881-0917 or email

Download a flier here.

Download a youth registration form in word format here

Download parent/guardian release form in word format here

Categories: Latest News.

Young Audiences Presents Free Canalside Programming for Families

Young Audiences WNY will bring the sights, sounds, and cultural diversity of Buffalo to audiences of all ages this summer, through a series of free family events hosted at Canalside. Weekly programming, led by outstanding local artists, will feature interactive performances and hands-on workshops that emphasize the diverse history and culture of Buffalo. The series will be presented free of charge, through funding provided by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation, and will take place on Saturdays and Sundays beginning May 26 and ending September 9.  


“Our summer programming will provide a unique opportunity for children and families to become a part of our region’s ‘creative history’,” said Young Audiences WNY Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch. “As one of our city’s most beautiful and historic locations, Canalside offers the perfect setting to engage audiences in the unique story of Buffalo.”

Saturday programming will feature a diverse line-up of local artists whose work contributes to making this region one of America’s top arts destinations, while Sunday programming themes on local history, including the Erie Canal, Underground Railroad, and architecture. This Saturday will feature an interactive Ballroom Dance workshop with Kip Ralabate at 11 a.m. and a high-energy juggling performance by Nels Ross at noon. On Sunday, professional storyteller Celes Tisdale presents From Africa to America at noon and The Stringmen perform their Erie Canal Show at 1 p.m.

All programming will take place Canalside at 1 Naval Park Cove, Buffalo, NY 1402 on either the Great Lawn or in the Historic Ruins located near the Whipple Bridge. Performances and workshops are free and open to the public. Funding for these programs has been provided by the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the summer Canalside schedule

Categories: Latest News.

US House & Senate Resolutions Designate National Young Audiences Week Beginning March 12

procWe couldn’t be more pleased to announce that the United States Senate and House of Representatives have issued resolutions designating March 12-16, 2012 as “National Young Audiences Week,” honoring the contributions that Young Audiences programs have made in enriching the lives of students, teachers, volunteers, families and communities nationwide.

“I’d like to commend Young Audiences of Western New York for bringing the arts into young people’s lives in a meaningful and lasting way,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Through your programs and leadership, children are given creative opportunities that they may not have otherwise experienced. You are truly enriching the lives of our youth.”

To celebrate this designation, we’re hosting a rally on Thursday, March 15 in collaboration with Waterfront Elementary. Waterfront is a partner school that collaborates with Young Audiences on a whole school model of arts-integration. The rally will feature notable guest speakers and a school-wide performance by renowned dance company LehrerDance.

The Senate resolution states that arts education, “including dance, music, theatre, media arts, literature, design, and visual arts, is a core academic subject and an essential element of a complete and balanced education for all students.” The resolution also emphasizes that the arts not only foster academic success, but also support personal growth by developing critical thinking, problem solving skills, creativity, discipline, and cross-cultural understanding.

National Young Audiences Week will be observed around the country by Young Audiences affiliates in 20 states with events, school activities, and speakers to promote awareness for its arts-in-education programs. The organization brings 5,000 professional artists to over 6,000 schools and community centers annually with performances and artist residencies. The congressional declarations also coincide with the organization’s 60th anniversary celebration this year. Our affiliate will celebrates its 50th Anniversary of service in 2012-2013.

In addition to the Congressional resolution, Erie County Legislator Lynn Marinelli, Chairperson of the Community Enrichment Committee of the Legislature, has issued a Proclamation from the County, and Buffalo Councilmembers Michael LoCurto and David Rivera (pictured above) have co-sponsored a Proclamation from the City, celebrating the organization’s achievements locally.

Pictured above: Councilmembers David Rivera and Michael LoCurto present Young Audiences Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch with a proclamation from the City of Buffalo designating March 12-16 as “National Young Audiences Week”.


Categories: Latest News.

STEM Learning Through the Arts: Brill & Baczkowski at Waterfront Elementary

WaterfrontOn January 4, Young Audiences WNY teaching artists Ringo Brill & Stephen Baczkowski presented a debut performance of Ancient Voices for 6th grade students at Buffalo Public School #95 Waterfront Elementary. The performance was part of a kick-off event for Brill & Baczkowski’s upcoming residency, which is a part of the Young Audiences Network’s MetLife Arts for Learning for Life program.  The program, designed for middle school students, deepens students’ engagement with quality arts experiences and utilizes the arts to enhance students’ learning and life skills.

Teacher Chris Stephens told Young Audiences staff that he was “just as excited as the students for each of the workshops” and that he “loves the hands-on creative projects” designed for the residency.

Ancient Voices immerses students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through music. Throughout the residency, students will build musical instruments (such as a rain stick & didgeridoo) and collaboratively create a musical performance through a problem solving process in order to communicate a theme agreed upon by the class.

This program has been made possible through funding from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, MetLife Arts for Learning for Life, and New York State Council on the Arts.


Categories: Latest News.

Young Audiences Hosts Free Performance by Slam Poet Champion

gayleGayle Danley, Soul Portraits: Poetry of the Heart, Mind, and Body

  • Date: Tuesday, January 17
  • Time: 11 a.m. to Noon
  • Location: Ring of Knowledge at the Downtown Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo

Young Audiences of Western New York, in partnership with the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, will host a midday performance by award-winning slam poet Gayle Danley on January 17 at 11 a.m. at the Downtown Central Library.  Presented in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., admission for this event is free and open to the public.  

Danley is the 1994 National Individual Slam Poet of the Year and 1996 International Slam Poet Champion. As an accomplished performer and educator, she maintains a constant tour of elementary and secondary schools across the East Coast, helping students with traumatic experiences and teaching workshops on slam poetry. In 2006, she was named the Young Audiences National Artist of the Year for her outstanding work in the classroom. Additionally, Danley has published three books: “Naked,” “Soulful—A Slam Poetry Study Guide,” and “Passionate—Poems You Can Feel.”

The January performance, titled Soul Portraits: Poetry of the Heart, Mind, and Body defines Danley’s explosive style – combining movement and emotion as she addresses and explores contemporary issues. “We’ve hosted Gayle before at our annual Arts Abilities Conference for educators, and she has worked with young people at risk and in transition at Compass House and Renaissance Campus for us here in Western New York,” said Young Audiences WNY Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch. “She’s truly inspiring, she brings an audience through every emotion – you will laugh and you will cry.”

While in Western New York this January, Danley is the headliner for Jamestown Community College’s Martin Luther King Day celebration on the 16th, and will perform at Buffalo’s McKinley High School for students on the 17th.



Categories: Latest News.

You can Make a Difference

MuralYoung Audiences of Western New York and the Erie County Youth Detention Facility have released a mural titled You Can Make a Difference, as part of a collaborative effort that began in the summer of 2011. For the past six months Young Audiences teaching artists Rodney Appleby, Kristen Crosson, and Annette Daniels Taylor have worked with youth at the Detention Facility in visual, performing arts, and poetry with a focus on self expression. Using the theme “You Can Make a Difference,” the experience resulted in self-confidence, positive recognition, and reflection on life experiences and choices made when interacting with peers and authority.

“Our partnership with Young Audiences has been extremely positive for our residents,” stated David Rust, Deputy Commissioner for Youth Services. “It is important for our young people to recognize their creative abilities to write and create art, and that they use these positive outlets as an augmentation to their service plans upon release. We are proud to display the art and written words our residents have created here in the Detention Facility as a constant reminder to our youth to work towards a bright future.”

Youth admitted to Erie County Youth Detention Center are generally between the ages 12-15, and are at risk of academic failure, substance abuse, gang activity, and repeated juvenile delinquency. Research has shown that therapy through the arts is effective in addressing psychological needs of delinquents including, the need for security and tranquility, need for affiliation and affection, expression of depression, religious and spiritual needs, childhood trauma, and more.

This project is the result of 18 months of professional development and planning conducted with support from the New York State Literary Center and the New York State Arts In Correctional Education Network.

Pictured above: Mural created by students of the Hands on Arts residency led by Kristen Crosson at the Erie County Youth Detention Center (2011).

Categories: Latest News.

Join us for the 2nd Annual Hot Chocolate Showcase



 Shane 2

On Thursday, December 22, Community Action Organization of Erie County, Inc. (CAO) will host the 2nd annual Hot Chocolate Showcase, a public reception celebrating 21st Century after school programming at McKinley High School. The event will be hosted at Squeaky Wheel / Buffalo Media Resources from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and features photographs, videos, and performances by the young artists.

CAO’s 21st Century Program provides students with the opportunity to work with professional teaching artists from CEPA Gallery, Just Buffalo Literary Center, Squeaky Wheel / Buffalo Media Resources, and Young Audiences of Western New York. The program utilizes the arts to enhance students’ learning and life skills, providing the tools for them to become successful, contributing members of their communities.

Throughout Young Audiences WNY’s workshops, students have worked with hip-hop dance artist (B-Boy) Shane Fry, actress Annette Daniels Taylor, spoken word poet Alex Mead and visual artist Kyoko Roszmann. “Students with much talent have to remember that they have a responsibility. McKinley students have a lot of talent and they have to continue to work on their voice because they have something to say,” said Daniels Taylor. “I hope that the community will join us for this event to encourage our youth to continue their work in the arts.”

Admission to the Hot Chocolate Showcase is free and the event is open to the public. Squeaky Wheel / Buffalo Media resources is located at 712 Main Street in Buffalo.

Pictured above: Students at McKinley High School practice with Differential Flavor Crew’s Shane Fry during an “Art of Breakdancing” workshop.

Categories: Latest News.

Arts Education: Laying the Ground for Equality in Our Community

KrisWe know that arts education is engaging and hands-on. We know that it weaves together educational standards, creativity, and quality arts experiences. But more than ever, arts education plays an important part in creating a level playing field for our children regardless of economic background.

According to Eric Cooper, the president and founder of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, arts education gives children from a financially challenged background  the opportunity to share a more level playing field with affluent children, who statistically have more exposure to the arts in their daily lives (“Why Arts Education is Crucial,” As the 2011 Report of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities argues, there is evidence from regular and longitudinal studies of general education that students who participate in arts programs are 4 times more likely to have high academic achievement, three times more likely to have high attendance, and more likely to be elected to class office. A 2009 longitudinal study that followed students into their twenties reported that “arts-engaged low-income students are more likely than their non-arts-engaged peers to have attended and done well in college, obtained employment with a future, volunteered in their communities and participated in the political process by voting” (Cattrall, 2009).

Arts education creates more level playing fields in education common core standards and character development, but it also provides skill development for future employment. Learning in the arts supports development of 21st Century skills such as team building, resourcefulness, resilience, reciprocity, flexibility, and problem solving, all skills that lead to an increased likelihood of graduation and opportunities for higher learning and/or a successful professional life. According to Champions of Change (2006), “The arts learning experiences…show remarkable consistency with the evolving workplace.  Ideas are what matter, and the ability to generate ideas, to bring ideas to life and to communicate them is what matters in workplace success.”

Young Audiences WNY is proud to provide quality arts in education programming to ensure a more equal landscape for the children in our community.

Picture above: Kris Crosson leads a “Hands on Arts” workshop


Categories: Latest News.

Creative Journaling at PS #39














Pictured above, Young Audiences teaching artist Christy Zucarelli leads a Creative Journaling workshop at Buffalo Public School #39 – Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute. The workshop, made possible through a partniship with Community Action Organization’s 21st Century Program, is part of a year long residency for grades 5-8 that features several Young Audiences teaching artists. The residency utilizes the arts to enhance students learning and life skills.

Creative Journaling helps youth to develop communication and coping techniques as students grow to be adults, strengthening abilities in both literacy and  self-expression. Throughout Zucarelli’s four workshops, participants used a combination of collage, drawing, and creative-writing techniques to document their daily experiences. No subject matter was too large or too small to be included in the project.

“Some students found the project a bit challenging at first because they had to look at images and choose what best described their interestes, their hobbies and their experiences,” said Zucarelli, “but by the end of the series students were so enthusiastic about their journals that they asked to take them home to share with their families and to continue to create entries.”