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Nominate a community leader to be honored at our annual gala

YMonicaoung Audiences WNY’s annual benefit event brings community leaders together to celebrate the important work of engaging and educating young people through the arts. Each year, the benefit committee recognizes individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the arts, education, and their communities. Honorees are nominated by the public, selected by the benefit committee, and recognized at our annual awards reception.

This year, we will acknowledge the work of two outstanding leaders/organizations in the fields of arts and education on October 13 at Young Audiences Goes to Town, a musical celebration in two acts to benefit arts education. The event will be hosted at Town Ballroom and features the awards ceremony as well as live entertainment, plentiful appetizers, raffles, and a headline performance N’Dias.

We invite and encourage you to nominate a community leader to be honored during our Act I awards reception. Previous receipients of this award include Monica Angle, the Buffalo Teacher’s Center, William Y. Cooper, Joan Gruen, Cindy Hanna, Holland & Holley Elementary Schools, Miriam Minkoff, Kyoko Roszmann and Gretchen Murray Sepik.

Nominations are due to Young Audiences WNY by August 1 at 5 p.m. Click here to download a nomination form.

Pictured above: 2010 honoree Monica Angle participates at the Patricia Cotsen Arts Abilities Conference.


Categories: Latest News.

Staff Attends Arts in Education Leaderhip Institute

LI1Young Audiences WNY Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch and Program Director Theresa Woehrel joined attendees from across the country last week for the Young Audiences Arts in Education Leadership Institute. Created with the support of the American Express Foundation, the symposium was developed by Young Audiences, Inc. to promote exceptional leadership in the field of arts education. The conference was designed to develop the professional growth of individual participants, impact institutional development, and have a ripple effect on the arts in education field.  Gaasch and Woehrel were selected from affiliates across the country to participate with 23 other individuals in the Young Audiences network.

“Having the opportunity to connect with arts education professionals from across the country is an invaluable experience,” said Gaasch. “We’ve brought back many exciting ideas that we are eager to implement in collaboration with our region’s educators and artists.”
The Institute’s participants represented 14 of a total 30 Young Audiences affiliates. Those attending the Institute are emerging leaders from various departmental backgrounds and with a broad range of experience. The participants are united by the mission to draw on the strength of the network in order to serve their unique community needs and were chosen to attend the Institute because of their commitment to increasing the role of the arts in children’s lives. Their feedback will prove crucial to the next phase of development and in securing the Institute’s longevity and social impact.
Upon the success of this pilot project, Young Audiences will develop a comprehensive Leadership Institute to build the capacity of leaders in the arts in education field as well as address the challenges facing all organizations that champion the rights of children, young adults and communities.

Young Audiences WNY currently provides professional development services for educators and artists in Buffalo and throughout Western New York. The organization is hosting the Fifth Annual Patricia Cotsen Arts Abilities Conference on August 10-12, providing teachers will innovative and applicable techniques for creating an engaging learning environment through the arts. Click here for additional information and registration details or by call 716.881.0917.

Pictured above: Young Audiences WNY Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch participates in workshop at the 2011 Arts in Education Leadereship Institute.

Categories: Latest News.

McKinley Celebrates Achievements of After School Programming

On June 2, Community Action Organization’s 21st Century After School Program participants at McKinley High School will celebrate a year’s worth of Young Audiences programming. The below video features highlights from the after school program, and showcases work with teaching artists Rodney Appleby, Annette Daniels-Taylor, Alex Mead, Tom Holt, Ismail and Co., and Sarah Haykel.

CAO McKinley After School end of Year Video from Young Audiences on Vimeo.


Categories: Latest News.

Architecture + Education: Classroom Collaboration in the Arts

aeThe Architecture + Education in Buffalo Project (A+E) is an innovative in-school residency program that uses architecture as a tool for student development, connecting to art, science, technology, and math curriculum in grades K-8. Offered in three public schools this year through support from the New York State Council on the Arts, A+E is the unique collaboration of Young Audiences WNY, the American Institute of Architects in Buffalo/WNY (AiA), and the Buffalo Public School District.

Through a collaboration brought together by Young Audiences, this school year, over 250 students participated in the A+E program, including students at Lovejoy Discovery School #43, Buffalo Public School #81, and Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence #89. Curriculum was designed with four teacher teams in collaboration with members of the AiA Education Committee and architect Lindsey Graff.  Graff is a recent graduate of the University at Buffalo’s masters program in Architecture, and was hired by Young Audiences to implement the residencies with the support of the architect volunteers.

During the five-session residencies, Graff, with the assistance of architect volunteers, led students through hands-on workshops in architecture designed to build skills in English language arts, math, science, teamwork, critical thinking, design, and technology.

  • PS 89 Kindergarten – Each day students learned about the different parts of a house and how they work together to create the place we live. Students wrote stories and designed their own house in the form of a book, and house illustrations.
  • PS 43 Third Grade – Students learned about color, texture and three-dimensional objects as they pertain to building design. They built a façade of a building using a loom-like structure to weave in and out materials of different colors and textures.
  • PS 43 Fourth Grade – Students learned to understand the floor plan of their school, and the relationship of form, functionality, and shape. Students designed and created bus shelters, and the basics of scale.
  • PS 81 Eighth Grade – Students were briefed by their teacher on thermal mass before beginning the residency.  The students then learned the power of sunlight to warm and light a space in an energy efficient manner.  They then created a structure on which light would reflect and hold and then designed a room around it using methods of wood construction.

“This has been a wonderful collaboration for us,” said Young Audiences WNY Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch. “A+E is an excellent example of how professionals in creative fields may support the learning of Buffalo’s children through explorations of their field.  We were pleased to expand our offerings beyond traditional art forms in order to work with the American Institute of Architects Buffalo/WNY. The quality of the projects was made possible by the committed volunteers in the architectural community.”

Projects from the A+E program are on display to the public in an exhibition of student work hosted at Starlight Studio and Art Gallery, located at 340 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo through May 20. The Architecture + Education in Buffalo Project is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, celebrating 50 years of building strong, creative communities in New York States 62 counties. More information about this project is available online at or by contacting the Young Audiences office at 716.881.0917.

Pictured above: Students at PS 89 demonstrate the basics of structural support with assistance from architect Lindsey Graff.


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Kids “Keep It Moving” in YA Dance Residency

Kim1Young Audiences‘ Keep it Moving program is a 35 session after school residency that emphasizes health and physical fitness through dance. Made possible through support from the General Mills Foundation, Keep It Moving is now in its second year of implementation and includes participants at Community Action Organization’s JFK and Edward Saunders after school sites.

Throughout the 2010-2011 school year, students have had the opportunity to learn different forms of dance while journaling about the healthy choices that they make each week. Teaching artist, and Licensed Practical Nurse, Cindy Hanna instructs students in dance workshops and leads discussion on healthy eating choices and the food pyramid. The process is documented in student journals, reinforcing each session and building literacy skills.

journal“I was shocked at how students were so into using the journals,” said teaching artist Sarah Haykel. “They are a great tool for self expression and recording what they’ve learned.”

At the CAO JFK site, kids have already learned Salsa with Sarah Haykel, African Dance with Le Ballet Touba, and are currently participating in Ballet workshops with Configuration Dance. At the CAO Edward Saunders site, Kip Ralabate taught social dance and  students are currently participating in modern dance workshops with LehrerDance.

Click here for more information about the Keep It Moving residency, or contact Young Audiences by phone at 716.881.0917 or by email at


Categories: Latest News.

Origami Pop Up Books at H.O. Brumsted

booksAs part of Young Audiences’ on-going partnership with H.O. Brumsted Elementary in Holland, NY, poet Sherry Robbins and visual artist Kyoko Roszmann have collaborated once again to create poetry pop up books with the school’s third grade students.

Throughout the residency, students learned about the cultures of India, China, and Puerto Rico in their classrooms, inspiring the poems and artwork used to create their 3-D origami books. Additionally, themes of self-reflection and nature were explored and featured in this year’s books.

Young Audiences partnership with H.O. Brumsted Elementary School focuses on literacy and core curriculum skills development, as well as core understanding of the arts for students in grades Pre-K-4. 3-D Pop Up books created by the students of H.O. Brumsted will be on dispaly at Starlight Studio and Art Gallery from April 26-May 20 as part of Young Audiences Showcase of Student Work. A reception with the teaching artists will take place on Friday, May 6 from 7-9pm. Click here for more information.

The snow is falling
The wind is blowing
The grass is sparkling
The moon is glowing
The clouds are gone

The leaves are falling
The flowers are growing
The stars are shining
The sky is dark

— Third Grade Student, H.O. Brumsted Elementary School

Categories: Latest News.

Lehrer Dance premieres “Something So Right”

LehrerYoung Audiences teaching artists LehrerDance, lead by contemporary dance choreographer John Lehrer, will premiere Something So Right this Saturday and Sunday (April 16 and 17) at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts. The performance is a collaboration between LehrerDance and MusicalFare Theatre companies, in partnership with the Center for the arts.

Something So Right is a world premiere music, dance and theatre experience told through the words and music of Paul Simon. This uniquely original performance highlights decades of memorable songs and explores the ups and downs of a relationship between two people.

A recent addition to the Young Audiences roster, LehrerDance is currently working with students at two Young Audiences after school program sites; Concerned Ecumenical Ministry’s STAR Program and Community Action Organization’s NURTURE program hosted at Edward Saunders Community Center. The group’s workshops at the Edward Saunders site are part of Young Audiences’ Keep It Moving residency, focusing on fitness and nutrition through dance.

LehrerDance can be booked for workshops and performances in school, after school, and community venues. Click here to learn more about LehrerDance’s available programming or contact 716.881.0917 fore more information.

Tickets for Something So Right are available at

* Pictured above: Members of LehrerDance perform for students at CAO’s NURTURE program hosted at Edward Saunders Community Center


Categories: Latest News.

A Rhythm Runs Through It

A Rhythm Runs Through It from Young Audiences on Vimeo.

A Rhythm Runs Through It is a multi-artist residency at Heritage Centers After School Program that engages youth with moderate to severe development disabilities in learning through the arts. Many of the students participating in the residency face physical, mental, cognitive, or behavioral challenges.

Throughout the residency students have been introduced to a variety of art forms so that each individual can find something that they respond well to and enjoy. These creative experiences have provided an important emotional and physical outlet for the students. In a recent program review, both the staff of Heritage Centers and Young Audiences teaching artists praised the residency’s success, citing that students have increased their communication skills, developed a stronger sense of community amongst their peers, and shown a noticeable decrease in behavioral problems.

To date, students have created a collaborative mural with visual artist Tom Holt, learned hip hop and salsa dancing techniques with Sarah Hooper, sang folk songs with musician John Lombardo, sculpted Daruma Dolls with visual artist Jen Russo, and created the “Whole Note Band” – comprising a variety of instruments – with musician Reynold Scott. Scott described his experiences at Heritage Centers as:

“A feeling of my own success… these kids all participated, worked as an ensemble, took ownership of their chosen instruments, and performed in an outstanding fashion… I experienced this as a successful musical production!”

This year’s residency will continue with African drumming lessons from musician Miriam Minkoff and African dance workshops with Robin Hibbert and Le Ballet Touba.

A Rhythm Runs Through It was created by Young Audiences of Western New York and is funded by The Children’s Guild Foundation. Click here to learn more about this residency.


Categories: Latest News.

Quiet in the Studio! Radio Acting in the Classroom

AnnetteStudents at Community Action Organization’s 21st Century after school program (housed at Public School #39) are created and recorded an original radio drama called Quiet in the Studio as part of a multi-session arts residency taught by award winning playwright Annette Daniels-Taylor. Young Audiences of Western New York is presented the program in collaboration with Community Action Organization of Erie County, Inc.

Inspired by the old-time radio shows Little Orphan Annie and The Green Hornet, students in grades K-6 developed an original plot that centers around a mysterious new substitute teacher, Miss. Ian, who transforms their classroom in unforeseen ways.

“When they start reading the script they helped write, as the characters they helped create, and editing their copy after rehearsals and listening to themselves after recording, they are hooked! They are hooked on radio theatre!,” said Daniels-Taylor, lead teaching artist for the program. “They’re so interested in refining what they’ve created. They seem to learn instantly how to improve what they’ve just done right after the first rehearsal reading.”

Each Monday and Thursday, students learn about the tradition of radio programming for entertainment and to create their own storyline, characters, and script. Each student gains on the spot training in making sound effects with found objects, microphone technique, radio acting, and radio direction or “sign language.”

Quiet in the Studio teaches students team-building, listening skills, writing and editing, acting, public speaking, technology and creative thinking skills and practice,” said Daniels-Taylor.

LISTEN HERE: WBFO’s Joyce Kryszak recently discussed the importance of arts education in her month-long series Culture in the Balance. Young Audiences was featured in the broadcast, which included an interview with Executive Director Cynnie Gaasch and recorded content from our Quiet in the Studio residency. Click here to listen to this broadcast.

This program was funded by Community Action Organization of Erie County through a grant provided by the New York State Education Department. More information is available by contacting the Young Audiences WNY office at 716.881.0917.


Categories: Latest News.

Showcase of Student Work and Gallery Reception


  • WHEN: April 26 – May 20, reception with the artists Friday, May 6 from 7 – 9 pm
  • WHERE: Starlight Studio and Art Gallery, 340 Delaware Ave, Buffalo. Gallery hours Monday-Friday, 9 am – 4 pm
  • ADMISSION: FREE ADMISSION. Open to the public, all ages welcome

ABOUT: Young Audiences of Western New York is pleased to present an exhibition of work created by students at our partner sites, working with our artists. The Showcase of Student Work includes work created in our new partnerships with the Education Committee of the American Institute of Architects Buffalo/WNY, and Community Action Organization, as well as continuing partnerships with Holland Elementary and Heritage Centers.  The Architecture + Education program is offered in Buffalo schools with support from New York State Council on the Arts. A reception will be hosted on May 6 from 7-9 pm, coinciding with Greater Allentown First Friday’s Gallery Tour.