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Arts for Learning WNY (formerly Young Audiences of Western New York) is a not-for-profit arts education organization whose mission is to inspire, expand learning, and strengthen the community through engagement with the arts. For 60 years, they've been the leading arts education organization in Western New York seeking innovative, equitable, and inclusive ways to infuse the arts into learning across all subject areas for grades K-12.

A key pillar of Arts for Learning WNY is their Arts Partners for Learning program whose mission is to expand access to arts education for children in WNY, improve the capacity of the cultural organizations, and provide quality creative learning programs. The focus of this initiative is on reaching traditionally underserved arts communities, including rural communities that surround the city of Buffalo such as Wyoming County, through both free programming through libraries and in-schools.

With this goal in mind, The Cordelia A. Greene Library, through its partnership with Arts for Learning WNY, has launched First Friday Family Fun Nights. The first Friday of every month will feature a different artist who will lead a workshop for the public, free of charge, exposing the community to creative and engaging opportunities. The upcoming schedule is as follows:

  • October 7, 2022, 6 PM: Festivals of India led by Gaitrie Subryan of Devi Bollywood

  • November 4, 2022, 6 PM: Mime Workshop led by Janice Spagnola

  • December 2, 2022, 6 PM: Hip Hop Workshop, led by Charis Humphrey

"I believe arts education is extremely important, especially in rural settings where our exposure to the arts is more limited. Rural libraries, however, also have more limited funding and staffing. Collaborating with Arts for Learning WNY has allowed our library to overcome the financial barrier that has previously stopped us from being able to make arts programming a regular occurrence at our library.

Arts for Learning WNY works with so many talented artists who are experienced teaching throughout school and library settings. I have been impressed with every artist they have sent our way, in terms of the art they have created, the art they have helped my patrons create and their professionalism."

-Rebecca Connoly, Director of Cordelia A. Greene Library

The arts-integrated programming isn't limited to libraries. Arts for Learning has a robust roster of Teaching Artists who bring assemblies, workshops, apprenticeships, and programs for school-age students and schools. These complement existing curriculums, comply with NYS teaching standards, and can be tailored to the specific needs of each classroom. Throughout the '21-'22 school year, Arts for Learning hosted 22 programs in Wyoming County, serviced 258 people, and is hoping to expand their reach into more classrooms.

"My name is Jason Decker, and I am a music educator at Letchworth Central School District. My collaboration with Young Audiences has created unique authentic musical experiences for my student musicians with the world class musicians from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. The artist residencies provided through this grant bestow my rural music students with an opportunity to develop their musical skills way beyond notes on the page, giving them a glimpse into the lives of professional musicians and how they hone their craft. These events would not occur without the generous funding found through Young Audiences. The experiences have been and continue to be an outstanding experience for all stakeholders."

- Jason, Letchworth

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