The Arts Abilities Conference scheduled for Thursday, October 29, 2015 has been cancelled. Young Audiences is merging with the Arts Partners for Learning (APL) Professional Development Winter Forum (info below) to broaden our scope and reach young people in the classroom and beyond. We invite all community members who are entrusted with the care, education and development of youth across the region to participate. Sessions will focus on topics that concern teachers, educators, afterschool providers, artsand cultural organizations and human service providers. Participants will have opportunities to network and experience hands-on workshops while learning sustainable, relevant tools to use in the field.


The Winter Forum will take place on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at the Buffalo Zoo.

The theme will be “Reaching Youth Through Innovation.”

Tickets will be on sale soon: $50 standard, $30 for APL partners, $20 for artists, students, and Cultural Employee Pass Holders.

Please call 716.881.0917 or email artsed@yawny.org with questions.


Full STEAM Ahead: Innovation in the Classroom and Community

Young Audiences in conjunction with Arts Partners for Learning will host the 8th Annual Patricia Cotsen Arts Abilities Conference on October 29, 2015 at the Downtown Library in Buffalo, NY.

The conference will bring together teachers, teaching artists, cultural specialists, arts and cultural education program providers, and many more who are innovating in their schools and in the community. Western New York’s most innovative educators and artists will share information about their great work in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) programming.

WHERE: Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Downtown Buffalo

WHEN: Thursday October 29, 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

REGISTRATION: Standard tickets will be $50, $30 for partners, and $20 for artists & students. Complimentary tickets are available for volunteers. Please email artsed@yawny.org if interested in volunteering.


Arts Partners for Learning professional development forums are intended to address the growing need for cultural organizations to partner with schools, outside of school providers, and teachers in ways that are designed to meet a wide range of learning needs, and prepare young people for the 21st Century workforce. Workshops will provide significant hands-on activities, takeaway tools (documents, websites), and will demonstrate differentiated learning theory in their structure. The day concludes with a keynote panel and Q&A with community leaders and innovators.

Presenters Include: (click here for presenter bios)

  • Amelia Blake: Explore & More Children’s Museum
  • Alex Fernandez: Yahoo! / STEAM Consultant, Interweb Consulting
  • Kathryn J. Galvin: Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
  • Melissa Kate: Young Audiences
  • Kevin Kline: Squeaky Wheel
  • Marissa C. Lehner: Young Audiences, Teaching Artist
  • Aleks Malejs: Young Audiences, Teaching Artist
  • Kelsey McCann: Explore & More Children’s Museum
  • Jeremy Stock: Young Audiences, Teaching Artist

Read full descriptions of each workshop.


Buffalo Rising published a great article about the Arts Abilities Conference!

Conference participation contributes to the 175-hour requirement for NY State Professional Development Standards. All necessary documentation will be provided.

The 8th Annual Arts Abilities Conference is made possible with support from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Current Catering, Erie County, Fund for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. The Conference was named for Patricia Cotsen a long-time devoted Young Audiences board member and community advocate when she passed away in 2009.