Congratulations to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts!
Since 1979, YoungArts has held the distinction of being the sole path to the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Of the 141 students named, 20 are acknowledged also for their artistic merit.
This year, we celebrated our 20 Scholars with three major events in Washington, DC. The first was An Exhibition of Works: Artworks, Readings and Cinematic Arts Screenings by the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Visual and Literary Arts at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Sunday, June 17 (on view at the museum through July 4). It was followed by A Salute to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars: An Evening of Performances by the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on the evening of Monday, June 18 – where our performing artists interpreted, modified and recreated the work of an American master Aaron Copland. You still can watch the livestream of this performance here.
Over the next two days, our Scholars received a Capitol tour and participated in two programs in collaboration with our long-range partner, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which included a master class given by Damian Woetzel.
Our Scholars truly lit up our nation’s capital, and we hope you were able to join us for it – but if you missed it, you can see photos here. Congratulations again to our 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts!
Damian Woetzel Featured at the Hirshhorn
The 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts enjoyed the opportunity to participate in two unique programs during the recent National Recognition Weekend in Washington, DC. These programs were hosted at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and led by Damian Woetzel. Woetzel, a former principal dancer with New York City Ballet and the recipient of many honors, including appointment to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, currently serves as director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program and the Vail International Dance Festival. On June 19, as part of the YoungArts Legacy Master Series sponsored generously by Aon, Woetzel led the Scholars through an interdisciplinary master class which built on the rich variety of artistic disciplines and influences represented. Scholars participated in conversations with him and Hirshhorn Director Richard Koshalek, as well as interactive activities, designed to explore the concepts of individualism in the arts and being both a citizen and an artist.
The time I spent with the Presidential Scholars made me reflect on many aspects of where the arts fit into society today and where they are headed, and I came away very positive and hopeful about how new generations are thinking about the relevance of the arts today and how they are parsing "progress" whether in technology or other areas without some of the obligation to keep up that members of earlier generations sometimes have."
- Damian Woetzel
On June 20, YoungArts and the Hirshhorn co-hosted the second annual forum around the idea of “The Meaning of Museums to the Next Generation.” Museums today – and cultural institutions in general – are undergoing intensive changes due to new technologies, new perceptions of art and art-making, and widespread economic and social shifts. Moderated by Damian Woetzel, this special forum brought together the Scholars with teachers, curators and museum educators in a timely discussion on the evolving roles and responsibilities of museums – and young people's leadership of these important institutions – in the decades ahead. YoungArts thanks Northern Trust and Greenberg Traurig LLC for their support of this program.
"It's so rare to experience an environment like the master class with Damian Woetzel. To be able to listen, discuss and appreciate art and life in general with a true master of the craft, as well as up and coming masters, was an experience that will be impossible to forget, and one that will truly impact me as both an artist and a person. In today’s society we are reminded so much about so many bad things, and so it is such a rarity to sit down and discuss things like art and museums. Not only did the forum at the Hirshhorn give us that chance, it also gave me the chance to learn from my own peers, the future of this world, and have my breath stolen by their intelligence and dedication. The forum truly made me feel like the art that I have been creating my entire life and the things that I have said through my art mattered."
- Lathan Vargason, 2012 Winner in Visual Arts and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts
The 2013 YoungArts application cycle is well underway, and we hope that your talented young artists are applying to our program. As you already may know, we have expanded our eligibility requirements to include 15-18 year olds and those in high school grades 10-12. To be sure that you and your colleagues receive special news and updates from us, join our educator mailing list. Also, if you haven’t yet received application posters to share with students throughout your school, or need additional copies, you may request them by contacting [email protected] or (305) 377-1140, extension 196. A downloadable flyer is available here. Thank you for your support of the young artists in your community!
Arrive, by Erik Liberman, 1994 YoungArts Winner in Theater
While doing a reading not long ago, I noticed that four of the six actors in the cast were texting while their fellow actors were working. During recent rehearsals for a play, I observed actors bringing their cell phones onstage, texting while it wasn’t their time to talk - or while the director was speaking with someone else. It was at this rehearsal that I recalled being a student of Ann Reinking’s, who told us: “When the director speaks, nobody speaks.” She meant this not only as a courtesy, but because at least half of what we learned was from watching her work with other actors. Were cell phones as prevalent then as they are today, I’m certain she would have included them in her disclaimer...read the full post here.
In our fifth alumni spotlight we interview Trent Cresswell, 2009 YoungArts Winner in Writing. Trent is completing his second fellowship with the Edward F. Albee Foundation, served as Edward Albee’s assistant at the University of Houston and considers the renowned playwright a friend and mentor – while also having his play presented at the “F%&king Good Plays Festival” in 2011 and receiving the Art Schools Network ‘Outstanding Graduate of an Arts School’ award in 2012. Watch to find out more about his experience learning from Edward Albee and the new plays he’s been writing/presenting!
Where are They Now?
+Benny Benack just recorded an album titled "Lighthouse Project". Join him for a celebratory concert in Pittsburgh at the August Wilson Center on August 24! For more information, visit Benny’s website.
+Julia Easterlin, 2008 Winner in Voice, released some songs on bandcamp! Check them out here.
+Lauren Greenfield, 1983 Winner in Photography, won Best Director at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for The Queen of Versailles – now available in select theaters. Watch the trailer, here.
+Congratulations to Tatiana Mayfield on the release of her new album, entitled, A Portrait Of LadyMay. It is being released locally in Texas on July 22 with a digital release to follow. For more information, check out her website.
Support YoungArts Alumni!
Check out The Mysterious Closet, an Ethan Lader, 1999 Winner in Cinematic Arts, film and Sidekicks! a new rock musical about best friends by Alexander Sage Oyen, 2010 Winner in Theater, both on Kickstarter!
Are you 15-18 years old or in high school grades 10-12? We are accepting applications for the 2013 YoungArts program. Apply today!
2012 YoungArts Week performance DVDs are now available for purchase. Order yours today.
Sounds of YoungArts / 2012, the first Alumni compilation CD, is now available for purchase.
The following was written by YoungArts Executive Director, Paul T. Lehr, and posted on Art Works, the official blog of the National Endowment for the Arts.
I confess that I have a job that I love. Each and every day my colleagues at YoungArts and I have the privilege of working to identify, recognize, and support America’s most talented young (high-school-aged) artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts. In the spirit of “every great artist was once someone small or starting out,” our organization gets to serve as that very launching pad.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones. From an early age, I was encouraged to pursue my artistic passions—in my case, this was music, specifically classical piano, and theater. Having the chance to take lessons and be exposed to excellent teachers and classes in Miami, at Interlochen and other places—as well as growing up with the influences of my own mother, Mira Lehr, who is a wonderfully accomplished visual artist—made an incredible difference to me in the ways that I approach my work and daily life. Growing up, I saw my mother spending most of her time in her art studio and I understood from a young age the need for hard work and perseverance for your passion in life and also how important artists are to our country’s culture and well-being.
YoungArts recognized PBS for its partnership in live streaming the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts performance at the Kennedy Center in June. With PBS' support again this year, YoungArts was able to offer viewers around the globe an opportunity to tune in - through or website and PBS' Facebook page. This partnership is part of the ongoing, multi-platform “PBS Arts” initiative, which highlights PBS’s commitment to the performing and visual arts, and gives millions of viewers a front-row seat and a backstage pass for the best music, theater, dance, art, and cultural history programs on-air and online.
If you are a Miami-Dade high school student interested in the visual, literary and performing arts, you are invited to an upcoming workshop on July 28 in South Miami Dade. In this workshop, “Portraits: My Perspective, Your Story”, visual artist Loni Johnson will explore ways to create representations of subjects and their stories, while staying true to your own voice and media of choice. To register, or for more information, email [email protected].
Discovering Excellence in the Arts
16,000 talented alumni
$100 million in scholarships from prestigious colleges and universities
$500,000 in total annual monetary awards
150 YoungArts Finalists annually
Up to 5,000 applicants each cycle
20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year