Support Art Education and Inspire Young Artists

by National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts
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
Varun Das (2019 Jazz). Photo by Jason Koerner.
Varun Das (2019 Jazz). Photo by Jason Koerner.

In early December, YoungArts announced the 2023 YoungArts award winners— 702 of the most accomplished young visual, literary and performing artists from across the country. These winners joined a distinguished community of artists and are offered creative and professional development support throughout their careers. YoungArts winners are selected through a highly competitive application, which is reviewed by panels of esteemed discipline-specific artists in a rigorous blind adjudication process. A complete list of the 2023 winners, all 15–18 years old or in grades 10–12, is available online at

YoungArts is inspired each year by the talent, dedication and creativity of extraordinary early career artists. We are proud to support artists at critical junctures throughout their lives, and look forward to providing community and professional and creative development opportunities that will empower the 2023 award winners as they embark on exciting careers in the arts.

YoungArts awards are given in three categories: Finalist, Honorable Mention and Merit. YoungArts award winners are eligible to receive cash awards of up to $10,000 and will have opportunities to work with leading artists in their fields, participate in exclusive creative and professional development opportunities, and present their work to the public.

YoungArts award winners at the Finalist level are invited to participate in National YoungArts Week in January 2023 where they will have the chance to learn from notable artists such as architect Germane Barnes, author Richard Blanco, actor and playwright Taylor Mac, jazz alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, costume designer Machine Dazzle and actor BD Wong.

Finalists are also eligible to be nominated to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the highest honors given to high school seniors by the President of the United States. YoungArts, the sole nominating agency, nominates 60 artists to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, from which the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are selected.

YoungArts award winners join a distinguished group of accomplished artists including Daniel Arsham, Terence Blanchard, Camille A. Brown, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Amanda Gorman, Judith Hill, Jennifer Koh, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Andrew Rannells, Desmond Richardson and Hunter Schafer.

Join us in congratulating the 2023 YoungArts award winners! 

This announcement is available at


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Still from Process Intensive
Still from Process Intensive

Collaboration is at the heart of YoungArts programming and we are always excited to host programs that encourage young artists to work across disciplines, think outside of the box and test the limits of their creativity. We are grateful to the many supporters who make programs like the ones shared below possible.


Process Intensive with 2022 YoungArts Award Winners

What does it take to establish and sustain a creative practice?

Over the course of three days in May 2022, 40 YoungArts award winners across 10 disciplines gathered virtually to explore essential questions around the creative process and focus on new tools and concepts for their own artistic practices.

Led by Torya Beard, Darren Biggart, Ayodele Casel and Peter Lerman, participants were invited to consider the common thread among artists who consistently create work that expresses their vision: a commitment to a well developed and personalized process. By shifting focus away from a finished piece or public showing, artists were able to center ideas like experimentation, collaboration and inspiration.

Through interactive sessions, master classes with Raja Feather Kelly, Lisa Kron and Ariel Osterweis and conversations, participants grew their commitment to and understanding of “the process” and made steps toward a deeper artistic practice and network of collaborators.


Video Credits: Brandon Dumlao/Subculture Filmworks, editor


YoungArts + Aon Interdisciplinary Collaborations: Javon Jackson+Nikki Giovanni with YoungArts Winners in Jazz and Writing

Recognizing young artists’ need for a sense of community and desire to collaborate, YoungArts partnered with Aon on a series of virtual sessions focused on interdisciplinary collaboration and led by acclaimed jazz saxophonist and bandleader Javon Jackson and award-winning poet, writer and activist Nikki Giovanni.

Modeled on their recently released album “The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni”, Jackson and Giovanni led 13 YoungArts award winners in Jazz and Writing in collaborations to generate new work. Four 60-minute virtual sessions created space for the potential that arises from deep listening between artists working in different artforms. Giving feedback and using personal examples from their storied careers, Jackson and Giovanni fostered an atmosphere of experimentation and collaboration, focusing on process rather than final product.

Our thanks to Javon Jackson, Nikki Giovanni and the participating YoungArts award winners for their insightful spirit and for allowing us to peer into the creative process; and to Aon for their continued support of artists.

Still from Interdisciplinary Collaborations
Still from Interdisciplinary Collaborations


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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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National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts

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