Outstanding WNY Woman: Cynnie Gaasch

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - 7 Eyewitness News is teaming up with the National Association of Women Business Owners Buffalo Niagara to shine the spotlight on outstanding women who do extraordinary things in Western New York.

Cynnie Gaasch has taken her love of art a step further by spreading it to young people in the community.  She runs the non-profit group Young Audiences of Western New York, which hires professional artists to connect with kids, and teach in creative ways.

"The kids are learning phonics and the alphabet through dance and music," she explained.

Young Audiences started more than 50 years ago, with orchestra musicians who taught classical music. Now, it's evolved into all art forms, and focuses on rural communities and at-risk students who might not be exposed to the arts.

"They get introduced to the arts as a channel to be more positive channel energy, think creatively - it really changes their lives," said Gaasch.

She keeps the program running by finding funding anywhere she can, from different foundations to all levels of government. The plan is to expand both it and the number of students it reaches.

"That's really important as an artist - to see kids growing up who appreciate and enjoy the arts and will continue to do that," she said.

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