The Alumni Award represents support of talented young artists and symbolizes continued commitment to them as they achieve success in their chosen careers. The award signifies dedication to the arts and to the level of professional success the YoungArts alumni achieve. The number of YoungArts alumni realizing successful careers in their chosen art is growing exponentially. The annual Alumni Award is granted to a YoungArts winner in recognition of noteworthy contributions and professional achievements in his/her chosen art form. The Alumni Award is created by renowned sculptor and NFAA Trustee, John R. Henry, who generously donates his time and talent to create this award each year. The Alumni Award was established in 2006 to celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary.s
2013 / Adrian Grenier, 1994 Winner in Theater. American actor, musician and director.
2012 / Doug Aitken, 1986 Winner in Visual Arts. Widely known for his innovative fine art installations, Doug Aitken is at the forefront of 21st century communication. Utilizing a wide array of media and artistic approaches, his eye leads us into a world where time, space, and memory are fluid concepts.
Aitken’s body of work ranges from photography, sculpture, and architectural interventions, to films, sound, single and multi-channel video works, and installations. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world.
2011 / Kerry Washington, 1994 Winner in Theater, has garnered critical acclaim for her leading roles in Ray, winning the 2005 NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture”, Lakeview Terrace and The Last King of Scotland, earning a 2007 NCCAP Image Award nomination for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.” In 2009, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
2010 / Desmond Richardson, 1986 Winner in Dance and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet and a multi-talented artist who has mastered a wide range of dance forms including classical, Hip Hop, modern, and contemporary. Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the great modern dancers of his time”, he has been a principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre and Alvin Ailey dance companies.
2009 / Raúl Esparza, 1988 YoungArts Winner in Theater, is an award-winning Broadway, television and film actor. Esparza is a three-time Tony Award nominee, a Drama Desk Award nominee and Obie Award winning actor.
2008 / Rachel Moore, 1982 YoungArts Winner in Dance, serves as Executive Director of the American Ballet Theatre and is a former member of ABT’s Corps de Ballet. Moore has served as Director of Boston Ballet’s Center for Dance Education and has held positions at leading dance and arts organizations.
2007 / Allegra Goodman, 1985 YoungArts Winner in Writing and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, is a critically-acclaimed novelist and short story writer. Goodman’s first novel Kaaterskill Falls, was a 1998 National Book Award finalist.
2006 / Vanessa Williams, 1981 YoungArts Winner in Musical and Spoken Theater, is an internationally renowned Grammy and Emmy nominated singer/actress. Williams has conquered the musical charts, Broadway, music videos, television and motion pictures. She has sold over four million albums worldwide and her skills as an actress on stage, in film and on television have earned praise from the most seasoned of critics.