For exceptionally gifted high school science students, there is the Siemens Westinghouse Science Award. For overall academic potential and achievement, there is the National Merit Scholarship Award. But for budding young Picassos, Baryshnikovs and Fitzgeralds, there is the youngARTS Award, the 28 year old Miami-based program that annually rewards exceptionally talented 17 and 18 year old artists with an all expense paid residency at youngARTS Week in Miami.
MIAMI, FL – Jenny McGee, a young musician and senior at William A. Arnold High School in Lexington, KY, is one of this year’s 141 high school seniors selected from a pool of 6000 applicants nationwide to participate in youngARTS Week, according to an announcement by National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts President and CEO Christina De Paul on December 4.
As one of the 2009 winners––all of whom were blindly selected by panels of professional artists—Jenny will participate in a non-stop week of workshops, master classes, showcases, performances, exhibitions and personal mentoring by some of America’s leading artists. The 2009 youngARTS Week takes place January 12–18.
“Each year youngARTS offers the most talented of America’s young artists the encouragement and means to transform their dreams into a reality as it has done for many of our alumni,” said Christina DePaul. Past recipients include three-time Tony Award-nominee Raúl Esparza, visual artist Doug Aitken, Broadway star and modern dancer Desmond Richardson, National Book Award-nominee Allegra Goodman and 2009 Grammy-nominee violinist Jennifer Koh.
The whirlwind week of Miami activities culminates on January 17 with An Affair of the Arts Performance and Gala, which takes place this year at Miami’s newly renovated Fountainebleau Miami Beach. The gala will include the presentation of the 2009 Arison Award to international award-winning visual artist James Rosenquist. The 2009 Alumni Award will be presented to 1988 youngARTS Alum, the three-time Tony Award-nominee Raúl Esparza.
In addition to this life-changing week, young artists are eligible for over $500,000 in prize money. The Gold Award winners ($10,000) and Silver Award winners ($5,000) are eligible for a chance to perform or have their work exhibited in New York City in late March at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The 141 youngARTS recipients will also become eligible for selection as a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts. youngARTS is the exclusive nominating committee of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, the U.S. Department of Education and the Presidential Scholars Program.
NFAA and its core program, youngARTS, was established 28 years ago by Carnival Cruise Lines founder, the late Ted Arison, and his wife Lin to ensure the future of American art by identifying uniquely gifted young artists and assisting them both financially and educationally. Its roster of alumni reads like a Who’s Who in the Arts. Previous winners include such luminaries as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater principals Matthew Rushing and Linda Celeste Sims; New York City Ballet principal Philip Neal; former American Ballet Theatre dancer and current ABT Executive Director Rachel Moore; Warner Brothers recording artist Josh Groban; Philadelphia Orchestra principal clarinetist Ricardo Morales; and New York Philharmonic guest solo violinist Jennifer Koh; Verve Record jazz trumpet player Roy Hargrove; Broadway actors Ron Eldard and Donna Lynne Champlin; as well as visual artists John Currin, Doug Aitken and Herman Bas.
For a complete list of youngARTS finalists and more details about the program, please visit www.youngARTS.org.