Arts Services Initiative of Western New York (ASI) has announced that after nearly 6 years, Executive Director Tod A. Kniazuk is leaving the organization.

“We are grateful to Tod for everything he has done,” said ASI Board President Randy Kramer. “His contributions to ASI and the Western New York cultural sector have been immense.  Through his work at ASI, Tod skillfully supported and strengthened regional arts and culture during a period that sometimes presented considerable challenges.”

Kniazuk, the first Executive Director to serve ASI, helped to launch the organization in 2011. Among the many accomplishments achieved by Kniazuk and his staff were the successful administration of New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization grants to small organizations in Erie and Niagara County; the development of a robust annual series of capacity building workshops and trainings for cultural organizations and artists presented free of charge; skillful advocacy efforts that included Kniazuk serving as the New York State representative to the national State Arts Action Network and as New York State Captain for the Americans for the Arts National Arts Advocacy Day; and the creation
of Arts Access, an innovative program providing low-income residents with free tickets and transportation to over 30 cultural organizations.

Most recently, ASI released the Western New York edition of the national “Arts and Economic Prosperity 5” report that quantified the economic impact of nonprofit culturals and their audiences in five counties.

“Tod has played a key role in creating a strong, dynamic, service-oriented organization,” said ASI Board Vice President Kate Koperski. “We will be seeking someone who can help us grow that service, while keeping the region’s significant cultural sector at the forefront of community growth and planning.”

Kniazuk will join a local consulting firm that provides services to the region’s cultural sector. “I am incredibly proud of the work my team and I have done in creating and building an effective, equitable, and service-oriented organization over the past five years, and taking an extra year to release the economic impact report to cap it off,” Kniazuk said.

“There’s always more to do, but I can honestly say that I went well beyond all I promised the board when I was hired. I now look forward to seeing where a new leader will take ASI in the future, and to continuing to be of service to the cultural sector in my new role.”

The organization has not named an interim director, but will announce a search for a replacement soon.