Executive Director, Young Audiences of Western New York

“I would not have made my way successfully through my high school years if I had not had outlets in dance, music, and visual arts. I believe every young person should have opportunities to benefit from the beauty accessed through the arts, and its abilities to heal and provide for the resilient human beings that make for successful children and adults.”

Cynnie Gaasch has been the Executive Director of Young Audiences since 2009, where she provides strategic management for a growing cultural organization that serves the eight counties of Western New York.  A graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, MA and a recipient of an MFA from American University in Washington, DC; she has been a teaching artist, fundraiser, curator, and art critic.  As an art critic she translated the visual arts in her role as arts editor for ARTVOICE and then contributing critic for the Buffalo News. As a grant-writing consultant, Gaasch’s clients included American Institute of Architects Buffalo/WNY Chapter, Buffalo First, Buffalo ReUse, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Somali Bantu Organization.  

Cynnie was a member of the leadership team that founded the new Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, and is the secretary for the Young Audiences, Inc. Executive Directors Council, a network of 30 affiliates across the country.  She was a recipient of Buffalo Business First’s Forty Under 40 Award in 2008.  She completed the Harvard Business School Strategic Perspective in Nonprofit Management program in 2011, and received the Future Leaders in the Arts fellowship from National Arts Strategies in 2009.