To celebrate its 50th year of service, Young Audiences of Western New York is hosting a series of public programs beginning this month and stretching into next spring. That series gets going tonight in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (1285 Elmwood Ave.) with kid-friendly activities galore. The fun starts with artist and collector Gerald Mead's interactive "Mail Art Workshop" from 5 to 7 p.m., continues with a play by musician and actor Rodney Appleby from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., and wraps up with a presentation of "Catch the Reading Bug," a collection of interactive folk tales performed by the Wondermakers troupe.

Other events falling under the organization's yearlong 50th anniversary umbrella include programming every second Saturday of the month in the Central Library (1 Lafayette Square); a week of children's activities at M&T Plaza from July 30 to Aug. 3; a gala event with LehrerDance, scheduled for September; and a concert featuring Kathleen Battle with the Buffalo Philharmonic to cap off the anniversary events in May.

For a full list of anniversary activities, visit or call 881-0917.

-- Colin Dabkowski