CNY Arts, Inc.


CNY Arts' Community Programs Go Virtual for 2020

CNY Arts’ annual live, educational holiday production for students and families, Dasher's Magical Gift  had to be canceled this year for the first time in decades because of the pandemic.

However, with the help of a $3,000 grant from the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, CNY Arts still brought Dasher's Magical Gift to over 7,000 children in our region--through a virtually streamed production in their classrooms and homes! 

The show introduces very young students to dance, theater and classical music in a heartwarming and educational original production. Many children who participate come from low-income backgrounds and have not otherwise had an opportunity to experience the arts in such an accessible way. We provided a set of accompanying educational materials for teachers and parents to make the most of this arts learning opportunity.

About 7000 children from 78 schools in eight New York State counties viewed the show this year. Many of these schools bring their students to see the show in person – but there were many that were new to the production and were able to share it virtually with their students. An additional 95 families also streamed the show, representing about 356 family members! 

Here are just a few of the comments we heard from teachers and families: 

Thank you so so much for sharing this! We are looking so forward to it. It has been tradition to attend for my 20 years here at school! . . . Honestly this program has been in my class and incorporated into my curriculum every year! I thank you again and again for providing this!” Denise Clark, Teacher, Syracuse Diocese

“Thank you for allowing us to view the online production of Dasher's Magical Gift! My Third Grade students absolutely enjoyed seeing ballet, theater, flying reindeer.  It was a first experience for a few of them although many of us have attended your presentations for many years . . .!” 

 – Teacher, St. Margaret's School, Grade 3

“Thank you so much! This is wonderful and just what my class needed!”  – Teacher, West Genesee School District

“Thank you!  This is a rare and wonderful opportunity for me to watch this with my grandchildren.”


(On My Own Time Virtual Exhibition Image Left: Uncertainty by Robbi Tanenbaum Saletsky; Right: The New Jim Crow by Ruth Grant).

For over 46 years, the CNY Arts On My Own Time program has celebrated and promoted the value of active participation in arts and culture in our region. This collaborative program for amateur artists has been produced in in partnership with Everson Museum of Art and dozens of businesses and organizations, as well as hundreds of their employees!  


Because of the pandemic, for the first time, CNY Arts could not produce an in-person program.  But art finds a way! This year, CNY Arts invited amateur artists throughout the region to submit their original works of visual art individually to a virtual On My Own Time exhibit, with no fee, rather than through their work sites.

29 artists participated, hailing from Cortland, Madison, Oneida, and Onondaga Counties, plus one from New York County!  
69 pieces were exhibited in three categories: General, Art in the Time of COVID, and Arts in Pursuit of Social Justice. Media submitted included Acrylic Paint, Ceramics, Graphite, Metal Sculpture, Mixed Media, Oil Painting, Pastels, Photography, Sculpture (repurposed materials), Watercolor & Markers, Ink, and Pencil, and Wood & Glass.

We love to see how people from a range of professions also have an avocation in the arts – This year, we received submissions from a customer service representative, R&D Manager, electrical engineer, writer, cartographer, physician, administrative assistant, entrepreneur, teacher, radio host, and more.

We aren’t sure yet what 2021 will hold for On My Own Time – except that we know there will be an exhibit—virtual, in person, or a hybrid—because art doesn’t take no for an answer!

2020 On My Own Time Virtual Exhibition

On My Own Time is a unique partnership between CNY Arts and Central New York businesses that promotes the outstanding benefits of arts and culture to our com...