CNY Arts, Inc.


Returning and New Hires at CNY Arts

CNY Arts is welcoming some new additions to its team including new hires, interns, and a few returning staff.


New and Returning Staff  

Ben Verdi, CNYA's newest Program Regrants OfficerBen Verdi, who interned at CNY Arts several years ago is joining the team as the new Regrants Program Officer. In his role, Ben will be assisting the Grants Program Manager to manage the extensivve grants programs at CNY Arts. 

Ben is originally from Buffalo, NY and graduated from Le Moyne College with a BA in History with Honors. Ben then received his MS in Arts Administration, where he met Stephen Butler as a professor. He  worked at CNY Arts to help with the school ticket sales of Dasher’s Magical Gift. From there, he worked at Irish Classical Theatre running the box office and being the public face of the theatre. Ben has also worked as a swim coach for multiple teams, both in Buffalo and Syracuse, working with athletes of all ages, as well as being a certified meet director and doing development and fundraising projects. In his spare time, Ben enjoys running, reading and exploring Central New York. 

Charlie Poag, returns to CNY Arts as the Film Fund Program Officer where he will be managing CNY Arts growing funding programs for film in Central New York through CNY Arts' Innovation Group of CNY, an effort to support the artists and organizations involved in the rapidly developing Central New York film industry. Charlie is originally from Asheville, North Carolina, and served for more than fifteen years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Charlie first came to Syracuse in 2008 to attend the Military Visual Journalism program through the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. After his service, he returned to Syracuse University and earned his B.S. in Public Relations. In addition to his work for CNY Arts, he is heavily involved in the local veterans' community and advocating for veterans.


Matthew Luca, CNY Arts Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications

Matthew Luca is returning to CNY Arts as the organization's Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications. He previously worked at CNY Arts spearheading the former IDEAS Collaborative and managed regional marketing and advertising for the arts sector. He is currently living abroad but maintains his ties to CNY through his work at CNY Arts and serving on the boards of the Syracuse Community Choir and Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice. While abroad, Matthew has been creating stories of the many cultural destinations he has been visiting. 



Brian Hyunsuk Lee has been promoted to Regrants Program Manager. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Music and Neuroscience and an M.A. in Performance Curation. Before joining CNY Arts, he worked in nonprofit fundraising and arts administration in Chicago, IL. There, he produced and helped to curate dance and performance festivals that centered queer and Asian American artists. He is a passionate advocate for diversity and equity in the arts. In his free time, Brian is a professional and volunteer choral singer and an avid woodworker. 




CNY Arts' Brightest Interns 

Elizabeth Osborn, CNY Arts Grants Intern

 Elizabeth Osborn will be assisting the grants team. She is a recent graduate from High Point University located in North Carolina. In her undergraduate program, she majored in International Business and pursued a triple minor in Italian, Art History, and Economics. She is currently in the last semester of her M.A. in Communications and Business Leadership. Elizabeth has always had a passion for the arts, and wanted to find a way to balance her interests in business with the arts, which has led her to CNY Arts. She just recently moved to Pittsburgh, PA and is excited to explore the cultural and arts districts that her new city has to offer.


Jason Pope-Bayne, internJason Pope-Bayne is a senior theatre major at Le Moyne College from Weehawken, New Jersey.  When not working or honing his craft in the fields of stage combat or intimacy coordination, he can often be found attempting to schedule game nights with all his friends.  Some of Jason's favorite roles include Trevor in the One-Act Play That Goes Wrong and as fight captain for the aforementioned show and the Squirrels as well as fight choreographer & intimacy coordinator for Spring Awakening.