YoungArts Mission: The National YoungArts Foundation identifies and supports the next generation of artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts; assists them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development; and raises appreciation for the arts in American society.
The National YoungArts Foundation (formerly known as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and support the next generation of artists and to contribute to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development of talented young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts. Each year, there are approximately 11,000 applications to YoungArts from 15-18 year old (or grades 10-12) artists, and from these, approximately 700 winners are selected who are eligible to participate in programs in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. (with Chicago and other regions in the works). With the guidance of YoungArts Artistic Advisors Plácido Domingo, Frank Gehry, Bill T. Jones and others, YoungArts provides these emerging artists with life-changing experiences and validation by renowned mentors, access to significant scholarships, national recognition and other opportunities throughout their careers to help ensure that the nation’s most outstanding emerging artists are encouraged to pursue careers in the arts.
To date, YoungArts has honored more than 20,000 young artists with over $6 million in monetary awards; facilitated in excess of $150 million in scholarship opportunities; and enabled its participants to work with some of the most distinguished artists, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d'Amboise, Renée Fleming, Zaha Hadid, Joan Lader, Branford Marsalis, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner and Bruce Weber. In addition, at the request of the Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts serves as the exclusive nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the country's highest honor for young artists. Presidential Scholars in the Arts receive a Presidential Medal at the White House and perform at the Kennedy Center or exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution.
YoungArts alumni who have become leading professionals in their fields include actors Viola Davis, Anna Gunn, Adrian Grenier, Andrew Rannells, Max Schneider, Kerry Washington and Vanessa Williams; four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza; Chief Executive Officer of American Ballet Theatre Rachel Moore; recording artists Josh Groban, Judith Hill, Nicki Minaj and Chris Young; Metropolitan Opera star Eric Owens; musicians Terence Blanchard, Gerald Clayton and Jennifer Koh; choreographer Desmond Richardson; visual artist Hernan Bas; internationally-acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken; and New York Times bestselling author Sam Lipsyte.
Some of YoungArts’ work is featured in the Emmy-nominated HBO program YoungArts MasterClass, which chronicles the work of renowned artists sharing their art and life experiences with YoungArts Winners. Previous YoungArts MasterClass specials have featured Edward Albee, Jacques d’Amboise, Plácido Domingo, Olafur Eliasson, Renée Fleming, Frank Gehry, Josh Groban, John Guare, Bill T. Jones, Patti LuPone, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, James Rosenquist, Julian Schnabel, Anna Deavere Smith, Michael Tilson Thomas, Kathleen Turner, Liv Ullmann and Bruce Weber. Upcoming programs will feature Alan Alda, Joshua Bell and Robert Redford. In conjunction with Columbia University’s Teachers College, YoungArts also has developed a Study Guide based on YoungArts MasterClass, which is distributed free to schools nationwide to help increase arts education and awareness.
YoungArts is working with world-renowned architect and YoungArts Artistic Advisor Frank Gehry to transform the recently acquired former Bacardi Tower and Museum buildings and three-and-a-half acre campus into its national headquarters, which will support expanded local activities in Miami and across the country. The campus will be a multidisciplinary arts complex with a new Gehry-designed performing arts center and park with state-of-the-art sound and video capabilities. YoungArts will host year-round programming on its campus, including master classes, public screenings and performances, artists in residence and visual arts exhibitions guest-curated by institutions based in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere. Since opening the campus for programming in November 2013, YoungArts has debuted the European classical music phenomenon Yellow Lounge in partnership with Universal Music; held a salon with Marina Abramović and partnered in the world premiere of the 3-D film installation A Portrait of Marina Abramović; hosted Olafur Eliasson and his Little Sun installation as the debut show in the YoungArts Gallery in partnership with MoMA PS1 and Fondation Beyeler; exhibited Robert Indiana’s One, Two and Seven sculptures on the plaza; held master classes for local music students with jazz great Wynton Marsalis and opera star Plácido Domingo; produced an interdisciplinary performance on the campus with Robert Redford, Will Calhoun, and alumni Dave Eggar and Desmond Richardson; and hosted more than 800 guests for the annual YoungArts Performance and Gala on the campus for the first time.