Music is Art chairman, champion killed in motorcycle crash

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A motorcycle crash claimed the life of Music is Art Chairman Ryan Casullo.

Casullo struck a box truck on his motorcycle while entering the I-190 ramp at Niagara Street Saturday evening. He was ejected from the motorcycle and transported to ECMC where he died from his injuries.

The 34-year-old of Lancaster, N.Y., leaves behind a wife and two children. Ryan served as Music is Art chairman for the past six years.

Music is Art founder and Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac shared a statement on Casullo’s death.

“It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you of the death of our MiA board chairman and my good friend Ryan Casullo. We will surely miss his upbeat attitude, his love for loud guitars, and his willingness to give himself for the benefit of others, he was truly a special person. We wish the best for his family and pray that eventually, in time, they move forward proudly knowing the great man their father/husband was, and how he constantly strived to have a positive affect of the lives of so many here in WNY,” said Takac.

Music is Art’s Executive Director Tracy Shattuck said Ryan was like her little brother, someone she spoke to on a daily basis, and who was always excited about the mission of the organization.

She issued a statement that read in part: “His enthusiasm and dedication were immeasurable. For Ryan it was all about giving the next generation access to music, whether he was picking up a truck-load of instruments, helping our high school Battle winners find opportunities for exposure, or introducing us to new friends who could assist with our mission, he always had Music is Art in his heart and the top of his mind.”

Music is Art board member Mike Audet said Ryan was excited about moving to Arizona in a year.

“He, along with Robby, were the face of this organization,” Audet said. “I just thought he brought an incredible energy, and he did so much for the organization.”

The last time Music is Art Treasurer Robert Zielinski interacted with Ryan was last week during the annual Battle of the Bands.

Casullo was in his prime, Zielinski said.

“It’s one of our favorite events. It was one of his favorite events,” he said. “And that’s the last time I got to see him. He was just so proud of what we were able to do. And so proud of all the kids that had the courage to get up on stage and give us their best.”

Zielinski said Ryan approached music with the same fervor and admiration he saw in his family.

“He was a great husband and father to his kids. He cared passionate for his family, and bragged about them all the time. He was so proud of his family. And he worked tirelessly to do the best he could for them.”

Ryan was a natural leader within Music is Art, a man with a mission easy to follow, Zielinski said.

“He was like the Energizer Bunny when he got on the board, and everyone loved him instantly, and he would do anything and everything to further the mission of Music is Art as Robby Takak saw it originally.”

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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