By Theresa Woehrel:
Young Audiences of Western New York is one of those hidden gems. It was formed nearly 50 years ago, but we don’t hear about it often, because the programs are usually in schools or after school venues. They quietly, often unseen to the public, make terrific things happen for young people in Buffalo and throughout Western New York. The organization can boast a number of exciting new initiatives this year, and will celebrate those achievements on June 9.
Help Us Keep It Moving!, on June 9, supports and celebrates Young Audiences’ programs. The event honors two artists, Monica Angle and William Y. Cooper for their commitment and service to the community.
The 2010 title theme, Help Us Keep it Moving!, is a spin-off of Young Audiences’ successful after-school program Keep It Moving, currently being implemented at the Main Street Salvation Army and the Butler Mitchell Boys & Girls Club. Keep It Moving emphasizes physical fitness through the art of dance, and demonstrates how nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits will result in life long health and wellness. The program is in line with Michelle Obama’s goals for the “Let’s Move” initiative.
“The benefit celebrates engaging and educating young people through the arts and helps us to continue great programs like Keep It Moving,” said Cynnie Gaasch, Executive Director of Young Audiences WNY. “This year’s event will also support the implementation of our new residency, Underground Railroad in Western New York, which we hope to offer in 20 schools next school year.”
The Underground Railroad in Western New York was created by Young Audiences this past year and is designed to increase literacy and understanding regarding racial disparities through student participation in dance, music, theatre, and creative writing. Annette Daniels-Taylor, lead teaching artist for the residency, will give guests a preview of the one woman theatrical piece she created for the residency, at the benefit.
“Monica Angle and William Y. Cooper are two terrific role models for their generosity, spirit, and commitment to young people and education in and through the arts.” Said Cynnie Gaasch, “They are also both outstanding artists with notable professional achievements that are worthy of celebration.”
Tickets to the Help Us Keep It Moving! benefit and auction cost $85-$125 and are currently on sale. For tickets or more information visit www.yawny.org or call 716.881.0917.