Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists

by National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts
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Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists
Daveed Baptiste How we found it, 2017 23"x15"
Daveed Baptiste How we found it, 2017 23"x15"

As we continue to celebrate YoungArts’ 40th anniversary and 40 years of serving artists, we are grateful for the many artists, friends and supporters who make YoungArts programming possible. We are delighted to share the following update:


2022 National YoungArts Week+

In January, YoungArts was excited to welcome 155 young artists from across the country and around the world for a virtual week-long intensive training program. Young artists participated in a total of 248 classes, where they gained valuable technical skills, collaborated with artists outside of their discipline and discovered a supportive, affirming and motivating community of peers and mentors, icnluding conductor Gerard Schwarz, dancer and choreographer Patricia Delgado, jazz pianist George Cables, writer Antwaun Sargent, jazz guitarist Raul Midón, poet Richard Blanco, actress Kate Burton and architect Germane Barnes.

Home: Reimagining Interiority

On April 7, YoungArts celebrated the opening of Home: Reimagining Interiority, a new group exhibition that explores the significant ways Black visual narratives respond to the dynamic cultural, political, social, economic and intimate changes that have forced us to (re)interrogate previous conceptions of Blackness and home.

Featuring photographic and text-based artwork created against the backdrop of the pandemic, the artists, 20 YoungArts award winners across disciplines and generations, draw the viewer in to show the intimate and personal impact of larger social and political events that we are only beginning to understand. The exhibition is co-curated by Dr. Joan Morgan and Dr. Deborah Willis, both directors at the NYU Institute of African American Affairs, Center for Black Visual Culture. “The past two years have given us all so much to think about and process as we have been forced to renegotiate and navigate our relationship with the idea of ‘home’ and identity. Working with these artists and seeing how they have come to understand their sense of self and home during these times has been an amazing experience,” said curators Dr. Willis and Dr. Morgan.

Home: Reimagining Interiority will be on view in the YoungArts Gallery in Miami from April 7 through August 1, 2022 and will then travel to The Department of Photography & Imaging, Tisch Gallery at NYU, where it will be on view throughout the fall 2022 semester.

Artist Awards

YoungArts is grateful to support artists with unrestricted awards. This spring, we were delighted to announce the following awards:

Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award

Stella Lei has been named as the recipient of the 2022 YoungArts Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award, a $50,000 scholarship given each year to a YoungArts award winner in Writing.

“The panel selected Stella Lei, whose extraordinary skills in the craft of fiction are matched only by her innate gifts as a storyteller,” said Christopher Castellani (1990 & 1992 YoungArts Winner in Writing and National Selection Panelist). “With assured sentences that convince and transport, unforgettable characters with rich inner lives and complex histories, and the most precise and evocative language, Stella’s work exhibits a sophistication rarely found among writers at any age. Stella’s fiction, like all great fiction, has an ineffable quality that transcends itself and demands that the reader pay attention; in this way, and so many more, Stella immediately distinguished herself as one of the most compelling and exciting writers we’ve encountered in many years.”

“As soon as National YoungArts Week+ began, I was struck by the vibrant and all-consuming love everyone had for their art,” said Stella Lei. “The experience reinforced and reshaped how I approach my work—as an outlet, as archive, as beauty, as survival. I am beyond grateful for this scholarship and the opportunities it provides to keep creative writing. I aspire to continue making art long into the future, giving voice to my narrative and showing other young artists that they too deserve to be heard.”

Stella Lei is a writer based in southeast Pennsylvania. Her poetry and prose, which have been published in multiple magazines, embrace the surreal and find the fantastic among the everyday, featuring settings and characters infused with wonder and magic. Lei’s writing has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize and selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 longlist. Her debut prose chapbook, Inheritances of Hunger, is forthcoming for 2022.

Jorge M. Pérez Award

Juan Jose Cielo has been named the 2022 recipient of YoungArts’ Jorge M. Pérez Award. Cielo, a visual artist, was chosen for his thoughtful, multi-disciplinary artistic excellence and promise of future achievement. Cielo will receive an unrestricted prize of $25,000.

Juan Jose Cielo, a 2015 YoungArts winner in Visual Arts, is a Colombian-American artist based in New York who works in the medium of painting, photography, and short films. In 2017, Cielo was selected as an artist-in-residence with scientists and researchers at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah. Cielo is a graduate of The Cooper Union in New York, with studies at the École nationale supérieure beaux-arts in Paris. His work has been exhibited at The Coral Springs Museum of Art, the Alliance Française Bogota, PennPlaza Pavilion, the Consulate of Colombia in New York, and the XVII Festival Internacional de la Imagen in Colombia. He is a recipient of the 2021 YoungArts Creative Microgrant. His work was recently published in National Geographic Traveler magazine June 2019 issue and has been featured on Univision 41 evening news.

A panel of judges selected Cielo based on his portfolio of work, which demonstrates depth of thought and insight by cleverly depicting simulations in painting, photography and short films where futuristic technology is interwoven with the sublime. Through his work, he grapples with the reality of the Latinx experience in the US, explores what it means to have a dual-heritage and creates space where Latin American myth and folklore are part of his vision of a futuristic world.

The Ashley Longshore Excellence in the Arts Award

YoungArts also recently announced the creation of a new annual unrestricted $25,000 award furthering its mission of providing support to artists at all stages of their careers.

The Ashley Longshore Excellence in the Arts Award is a $25,000 unrestricted award that deepens and expands support for artists in the disciplines of photography, musical theater and visual arts. In addition to the cash award, artists will have the opportunity to benefit from further mentorship, continuing education that can influence the trajectory of their careers.

In its inaugural year, the award will be granted to a past YoungArts winner in Theater (Musical Theater) and will honor the vibrant memory of Patrick B. Hale, an interdisciplinary artist in musical theater and visual arts. In the second and third years, the award will be granted respectively to a past YoungArts winner in Photography, in memory of photographer Alix Edmonson Martinez, and to a past YoungArts winner in Visual Arts. To be considered for the award, all candidates must be 25 years or older and exemplify the traits of artistic rigor, excellence, a love of their craft, and demonstrate an active interest in furthering the arts in their community.

For more information on these and other programs at YoungArts, please visit

Juan Jose Cielo. Photography by Jack R
Juan Jose Cielo. Photography by Jack R


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Happy Holidays from the entire YoungArts community! This month join us as recap our 40th birthday celebration and a few major announcements.

YoungArts 40th Birthday Party

On November 20, 2021, YoungArts hosted the organization’s 40th Birthday Party. The event—made possible with the support of PRADA, Truist Wealth, Truman Vodka, and ONE Sotheby’s International Realty—took place at the YoungArts Campus and welcomed artists, community leaders, cultural partners, donors and press for an evening of celebrating the uplifting, regenerative community of artists that the organization has supported since 1981.   Themed “40 Years for Artists,” the birthday party highlighted past YoungArts winners across disciplines and generations, and the organization’s history of and continued commitment to supporting artists throughout their careers.  Starting with a festive cocktail hour on the YoungArts Plaza, the evening seamlessly transitioned to an intimate seated dinner inside the iconic Jewel Box. To open the dinner, several notable past YoungArts award winners and guest artists appeared in a video directed and edited by Doug Blush (1984 Film) giving testimonials and wishing the organization a happy 40th birthday. The menu was designed by Miami chef Michael Beltran and guests enjoyed a performance by the evening’s Master of Ceremonies and YoungArts award winner Queen Esther (1983 Theater). The celebration culminated with dessert and a birthday toast that recognized the monumental occasion dedicated to celebrating artists and their impact on society.

2022 YoungArts Winner and 2022 YoungArts Week+

Earlier this month, YoungArts announced the 2022 YoungArts award winners—720 of the most accomplished young visual, literary and performing artists from across the country. Selected through the organization’s prestigious competition, YoungArts award winners, all 15–18 years old or in grades 10–12, are chosen for their caliber of artistic achievement by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process. YoungArts award winners gain access to one of the most comprehensive programs for artists in the United States, in which they will have opportunities for financial, creative and professional development support throughout their entire careers. A complete list of the 2022 winners is available online at

“We are thrilled to announce this year’s YoungArts award winners—an extraordinary group of promising, accomplished young artists—and congratulate each of them on this exciting milestone in their artistic careers,” said Executive Director Jewel Malone. “YoungArts empowers artists to pursue a life in the arts beginning at the critical time when many are faced with decisions about life after high school. We are proud to support these young artists at the beginning of their journeys and look forward to becoming a resource for them at all stages of their careers.”

YoungArts awards are given in three categories: Finalist, Honorable Mention and Merit. This year, YoungArts award winners will have the opportunity to learn from leading artists. YoungArts award winners become eligible for exclusive creative and professional development support including a wide range of fellowships, residencies and awards; microgrants and financial awards; virtual and in-person presentation opportunities in collaboration with major venues and cultural partners nationwide; and access to YoungArts Post, a free, private online platform for YoungArts artists to connect, collaborate and discover new opportunities.

YoungArts award winners at the Finalist level are invited to participate in National YoungArts Week + in January 2022 featuring virtual classes, workshops and mentorship from leading artists in their fields as well as virtual performances and an exhibition for the public. Finalists are also eligible to be nominated to become U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the highest honors given to high school seniors, bestowed by the President of the United States. As the sole nominating agency, every year YoungArts nominates 60 artists to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. The Commission then selects the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

YoungArts Mentorship Program

Lastly, YoungArts announced a new mentorship program pairing established artists and industry leaders with emerging artists to provide one-on-one, personalized and direct support to help mentees meet their artistic goals. The inaugural year supports BIPOC emerging artists who are YoungArts award winners by pairing eight artists with five mentors for a period of six months. This program is the latest in YoungArts’ commitment to provide award winners with professional development and creative support opportunities throughout their careers.

“This is an extraordinarily talented, promising group of award winners, and we are thrilled to match them with distinguished, experienced mentors to help set them up for successful careers,” said YoungArts Artistic Director Lauren Snelling. “YoungArts is always looking for ways to offer award winners support at every stage of their artistic careers, and we are elated this program will provide the personal, directed mentorship that is crucial to a life in the arts. We congratulate this outstanding group of award winners, who were selected from a uniquely impressive applicant pool.”

 For more information on any of these programs, please visit 

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Jazzmeia Horn (2009 Voice). Photograph by Drew B.
Jazzmeia Horn (2009 Voice). Photograph by Drew B.

On August 12, 2021, we announced the programming details for our 40th anniversary season with creative and professional development opportunities supporting YoungArts award winners at every stage of their careers and public programming in Miami, New York and online.

“As we enter our 40th year, we look forward to continuing to put artists at the center of all that we do and to share the extraordinary work of YoungArts award winners with the public,” said Executive Director, Jewel Malone. “Since our founding we have been dedicated to supporting artists across 10 disciplines, and this year we are deepening that commitment by expanding support for artists’ creative process and experimentation through in-person and virtual programs and in partnership with arts organizations nationwide.”

“We learned a great deal from virtual programming during the last year and are pleased to be able to offer a hybrid model of programs to YoungArts winners and the public” said Artistic Director, Lauren Snelling. “The flexibility of virtual and in-person programming allows us to reach a greater number of artists across the country, as we continue to expand our support for artists throughout their careers.”

Performances and Exhibitions

The season will kick off with performances in New York in partnership with The Public Theater at Joe’s Pub.  Performances will include multi-genre singer and songwriter Queen Esther (1983 YoungArts Winner in Theater) on October 17 and American jazz vocalist Jazzmeia Horn (2009 YoungArts Winner in Voice) with her big band on November 16-20 and experimental flutist Claire Chase (1996 YoungArts Winner in Classical Music & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) on April 20, 2022, with more to come in 2022.

YoungArts’ fall exhibition, The Choreographers’ Scores: 2020 will open on December 1, 2021, in the YoungArts Gallery, curated by Kristy Edmunds, Executive and Artistic Director of UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA). The Choreographers’ Scores: 2020 is a rare collection of dance on paper works created by 26 acclaimed U.S.-based choreographers. Each artist was commissioned by CAP UCLA to contribute a handmade score to be editioned as a fine art print by The Lapis Press. The resulting editions reveal the unique and intimate explorations of these artists, and insights into their personal perspectives and choreographic ideas, while awaiting their return to the studios and stages.

Also, in winter 2021, YoungArts is proud to partner with Nu Deco Ensemble for their performance on December 10 at the Adrienne Arsht Center featuring original compositions by Chris Rogerson (2007 YoungArts Winner in Classical Music).

2022 National YoungArts Week

In January, the public is invited to meet the next generation of artists during YoungArts’ signature program National YoungArts Week through performances, writers’ readings and an exhibition (Jan 9–15). All participating artists will be 2022 YoungArts award winners from across the country. During the week, winners work with peers from 10 artistic disciplines and with acclaimed professional artists in their fields. Spring programming for winners will highlight interdisciplinary collaboration and artistic process. The deadline to apply to become a 2022 award winner is October 15, 2021. 

Artist Residencies & Partners

Expanding YoungArts residency support, the new YoungArts Artist Fellowship for mid-career artists includes funding, space, networking opportunities and project consultation for the development of new work. Fellowships will be awarded annually to two artists selected by a panel of artists and staff. Fellows will receive a $10,000 honorarium; a three-week studio space residency on the YoungArts campus or at a location convenient to the fellow through a cultural partnership; and support from YoungArts staff, including consultation, networking and identification of additional support opportunities for continuing development of the work. The first YoungArts Fellow will be announced later this year. 

Additional creative opportunities and residencies are available through YoungArts’ national network of cultural partners, who provide a platform to serve YoungArts winners beyond their winner year, often in their home cities. Through individual partnerships, award winners are offered time, space and resources to experiment, develop and/or present their work at prestigious cultural institutions.

Additional residency and presenting partners for the season include Baxter St at CCNY (New York), Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (Los Angeles), The Fountainhead Residency (Miami), Jacob’s Pillow (Becket, MA), Joe’s Pub (New York), and The Watermill Center (Watermill, NY).

Professional Development

To further support artists as they continue their professional development, YoungArts is expanding its Up Next programs and skill-building workshops to help artists across all disciplines advance their careers. For the first time, Up Next Focus will be offered for all 10 disciplines providing customized opportunities for YoungArts award winners to workshop ideas and speak with working artists and industry leaders across the visual, literary and performing arts. Up Next Skills virtual workshops will address topics such as fundraising, grant-writing, budget management and financial wellness, contract negotiation, branding and more.

Now in its fourth year, YoungArts has partnered with Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival (MFF) to identify and select six past winners as curatorial trainees for MFF’s upcoming 39th edition, March 4-13, 2022. This is a mentorship program in which YoungArts award winners will have the opportunity to work directly with MFF’s senior programmers and have an insider’s experience of the art of film curatorship. In addition, five YoungArts filmmakers under the age of 25 will be selected through an open call on YoungArts Post to participate in Sundance Ignite. 

Financial Awards and Support

Launched in April 2020, YoungArts Emergency Microgrants have been extended and are open to YoungArts award winners who are experiencing loss of income due to the cancellation of scheduled professional engagements related to COVID-19 and/or unexpected expenses and financial hardships. YoungArts has also increased project-based Creative Microgrants committing $15,000 per month to past award winners. 

Microgrant applications are available via open call on YoungArts dedicated portal for award winners, YoungArts Post.

Queen Esther (1983 Theater)
Queen Esther (1983 Theater)
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Alora Young (2021 YoungArts Winner in Writing)
Alora Young (2021 YoungArts Winner in Writing)

As the impact of COVID-19 continues, National YoungArts Foundation remains committed to identify the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary and performing arts, and provide them with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers. This month join us in celebrating the 2021 Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Awardee and recapping the premiere of Without Further Delay.

2021 Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award

On March 9, 2021, National YoungArts Foundation was thrilled to announce Alora Young as the recipient of the 2021 YoungArts Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award, a $50,000 scholarship given each year to a YoungArts winner in Writing. Young may apply the financial award against the cost of tuition, room and board to attend an accredited school of her choice.

Young is a spoken word artist and Youth Poet Laureate of Nashville, Tennessee. A senior at Hillsboro High School, Young serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Burro Underground and is the recipient of The Princeton Prize in Race Relations. She is the founder of AboveGround, a nonprofit organization seeking to create equity in Nashville elementary schools through a combination of creative writing and Black history. Young is also a TedX Speaker, and her work has previously been published in The New York Times, Signal Mountain Review and Rigorous Magazine.

Now in its fourth year, the Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award demonstrates how individual donor support for YoungArts award winners can create transformative opportunities for artists throughout their careers. The award is part of YoungArts’ ongoing programmatic expansion, offering additional creative and professional development opportunities for artists throughout their careers. 

Without Further Delay

On April 8, 2021, National YoungArts Foundation in partnership with Aon premiered Without Further Delay, a virtual dance performance. Choreographed by co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Tony Award nominee Desmond Richardson (1986 YoungArts Winner in Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) the performance featured a composition by Grammy Award winner Terence Blanchard (1980 YoungArts Winner in Classical Music) and brought together nine 2021 YoungArts award winners from across the country. Without Further Delay investigated the current moment by exploring elements of isolation, confinement, communality, perseverance, and diversity. Without Further Delay, is available here on the YoungArts YouTube channel.

This dance commission is a part of YoungArts’ commitment to supporting YoungArts award winners at every stage of their careers. Throughout the season, all YoungArts award winners have ongoing opportunities to learn from notable guest artists and to participate in creative and professional development opportunities, as well as conversations and discussions to build community and engage with their peers.

As our season continues, please visit our website to stay informed of any upcoming programming or announcements. You may also subscribe to any of our social media sites, which include YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Christian Burse (2021 YoungArts Winner in Dance)
Christian Burse (2021 YoungArts Winner in Dance)
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Artwork by Andrew Harris
Artwork by Andrew Harris

YoungArts’ Executive Director Jewel Malone stated, “YoungArts remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering artists by providing them with essential opportunities for artistic, professional and financial support throughout their careers.” She continued, “During these uncertain times, YoungArts is raising critical funds for the organization through virtual campaign efforts to continue its support of artists, while also celebrating art and its power to bring people together.”

National YoungArts Week + | January 3 – 9, 2021 and January 25 – 30, 2021

On January 3, National YoungArts Foundation kicked off National YoungArts Week +, which focuses on four key areas: free virtual programming for artists and audiences; creative development and presentation opportunities; community support, engagement and networking; and financial awards.

National YoungArts Week + offers 2021 YoungArts award winners at the Finalist level, the organization's highest award, the opportunity to participate in a week long virtual program of workshops and panels, opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, project-based assignments, and classes with renown guest artists in their fields who will provide insight, coaching and mentorship throughout the week.

Typically an all-expenses paid in-person program, National YoungArts Week + has transitioned to be virtual and YoungArts has worked to ensure there are no barriers to participation during the week. Following the announcement of award winners, artists received a technical survey that identified materials, space, and other equipment necessary to participate. Any artist in need was provided with a National YoungArts Week + supply and equipment kit, including anything from computers and necessary software licenses to recording equipment and art supplies. Following the weeklong intensive program, audiences across the country will have the opportunity to meet the next generation of artists beginning Monday, January 25 at 8 PM ET through six nights of free virtual public performances, writers’ readings and an exhibition, and through a digital anthology and catalogue available on

On Monday, award winners in Voice, ranging from classical voice to pop, will present solo performances in a virtual concert. On Tuesday, the Jazz musicians will present a virtual concert and the Theater winners will perform a new collaborative work. On Wednesday, the Dance winners will debut a new virtual performance and the winning films will be screened. On Thursday, the classical musicians will share solo performances and premiere two new works by winners in musical composition, followed by a culminating group performance. On Friday, a virtual exhibition of works by winners in Design Arts, Photography and Visual Arts will open with a special event featuring the artists talking about their work. The week will close out with virtual writers’ readings on Saturday. A full schedule and additional details can be found here.


Together, a short film | January 25, 2021

National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) presents Together, a short film, an ambitious endeavor to support artists across the country and at every stage of their development. Part of YoungArts’ Together fundraising campaign, Together, a short film was commissioned by YoungArts and has united YoungArts award winners, notable guest artists and educators to create an enchanting animated short that underscores powerful messages of solidarity and interdependence and supports the next generation of artists. Debuting on on January 25, 2021 at 8pm ET, the celebratory film is created by more than 1,500 individual digital frames that are each a one-of-a-kind piece of art with the presence of multiple artists, combinations that may never be found again. Each unique frame of the film will be available for purchase to support YoungArts.

Together, a short film will be screened during National YoungArts Week +, the organization’s signature program for YoungArts award winners at the Finalist award level, the nation’s most accomplished early career artists. Together, a short film’s individual digital frames will be sold for $175 and available at The one-of-a-kind works will be printed and authenticated by YoungArts and sent to buyers along with details regarding the artists featured. For more information, please visit the Together Campaign page.

Artwork by YoungArts Board of Trustee, Jean Shin
Artwork by YoungArts Board of Trustee, Jean Shin
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National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts

Location: Miami, FL - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @YoungArts
Project Leader:
Tanesha Ferguson
Miami, FL United States
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