Categories: Latest News.

Programming at the Canal

Young Audiences is kicking off several new programs and it appears as if we are picking up even more speed. The Canalside Program which hosts teaching artists most Saturdays and Sundays at the Erie Canal Harbor park gains a larger crowd with each weekend’s passing.

This previous weekend audience members were treated to a salsa-dancing workshop to get them up and moving and a musical performance that promotes a positive self image. They learned how architecture is used as a tool for building understanding the world and they explored the old tales of the Erie Canal.

The family friendly performances bring together our teaching artists and the audience members in addition to valuable ideals and messages in a fun and interactive manner. These hour long programs teach students how to interact with others. It shows them how to take on a different role. It moves them to get up and shake their bodies. Learning doesn’t feel like learning when you are having a good time, and time seems to fly by when you’re having fun. So, head out at 10am on Saturdays and 12pm on Sundays so you don’t miss out on any of the excitement!

Check out the upcoming performances in July:

Saturday July 21

Soul Portraits Workshop & Performance with Gayle Danley at 11am

Sunday July 22

Erie Canal Traveling Museum with Annette Daniels Taylor at noon

Songs of Slavery with Rodney Appleby at 1pm


For more information on our scheduled programming in the latter months check out our website at



Categories: Latest News.

Teens Are Curators of Culture

What is a curator? A textbook definition would be something along the lines of an individual who dictates what pieces become a part of a collection 

meant for display. In the case of the teens participating in the Curators of Culture: Buffalo Style! summer program, it seems that a curator is an individual who takes an active role in their future. By discovering the varying aspects of art, architecture, culture and more, students discover why and how the city of Buffalo became the historical treasure that it is today. 

It sounded pretty similar to school when the idea was first explained, but the actuality of the program simply made me jealous that I couldn’t be a participating student. These teens are given the opportunity to see locally owned businesses, organizations and arts projects first hand and to intertwine their experiences with the different perspectives of others.  This is the teen summer program being piloted by Young Audiences WNY with support from Erie County Primetime this year.

The launch to the program included group activities to build ties of trust amongst the students. Throughout the following weeks the teens have been blogging about their experiences, explored their creative intuitions and formulated novel trains of observation. 

The program focuses on a theme each week, with topics such as marketing promotion, architecture, theatre and dance. Our partners, which include Buffalo First, Western New York Book Arts, and Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, are helping to coordinate activities, meet and greets, and creative prospects for the teens involved.

Every week provides a new outlet with the ability to appeal to each child’s unique talents. This also allows for synergy. Building off of one another is a great way to easily suck up knowledge and skill and when interacting with one’s age-mates the maturity barrier is greatly lessened.

These teens understand one another and after the icebreakers, they discovered shared experiences and circumstances. These curators are therefore a team working together to build collective vision for their future. 

Through connection and technical application theses students are learning in a way that applies the IDEA model, as discussed in the previous blog, to their education. Look out for next summer’s program because it only gets better from here! – Ini Inyang – Cornell ILR Intern, Summer 2012 at Young Audiences WNY

To learn more about Young Audiences, visit our website at

Don’t forget about our partners!


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.