The first step to becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts is to apply to the National YoungArts Foundation, which is the nominating agency for this honor. To be eligible for the YoungArts program, applicants must be between the ages of 15 and 18 or in high school grades 10-12. To be further considered for a nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar, applicants must be high school seniors and meet all of the U.S. Presidential Scholars requirements.
YoungArts winners demonstrating excellence in the visual, literary, performing or design arts are selected annually through a blind adjudication process. Each January, approximately 170 Finalists from across the nation are invited to National YoungArts Week in Miami, where they participate in a week of intensive master classes and workshops with internationally renowned artists, and share their work through performances, readings, exhibitions and screenings that are open to the public.
During National YoungArts Week, eligible participants are further evaluated, award levels are determined, and nominations are made for that year’s U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts candidates. After a rigorous selection process, YoungArts nominates 60 candidates for an invitation to apply to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Finally, the Commission on Presidential Scholars selects 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year based on artistic achievement, personal characteristics and leadership and service activities.
U.S. Presidential Scholars are invited to Washington, D.C. for several days of recognition activities. The scholars meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other leaders. Scholars also visit museums and monuments in our nation’s capital and attend recitals, receptions and ceremonies held in their honor.
In addition to these activities, the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts have the opportunity to display their artwork in an exhibition and perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
View the list of 2016 Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
Read more about this year's U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.