Why Apply

YoungArts winners represent a dynamic group of artists who go on to become leading professional in their fields. Alumni are Oscar, Grammy, Emmy and Tony award nominees. They dance with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the New York City Ballet, and play in the Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. Their work appears on the New York Times bestseller list, at The Museum of Modern Art and in the Sundance Film Festival. 

In this section, we allow the amazing artists that have already come through our program tell you why YOU should apply to YoungArts. Click here for our YouTube playlist of YoungArts Alumni sharing these messages on film. 

Why You Should Apply To YoungArts /
by Delali Ayivor, 2011 YoungArts Winner in Writing and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

So you’re thinking about applying to YoungArts. Here’s my advice; do it. It’s really that simple. Youngarts is more than just another high school arts competition or a line on a resume. YoungArts is a life altering experience, it’s a support system that will last you far beyond one week in Miami and more than that, it’s a family. I can honestly say that in a life full of blessings, YoungArts is the single best thing that’s ever happened to me. There’s nothing quite like being in a room full of people that get you. Not in the way that your family or even your closest friends get you, but in the way of another person who has rolled over at 3 am and groped their way to a pad of paper and pen in the pitch dark, another person who relishes waking up to a stubbed toe and three lines of a poem scrawled sideways on a napkin.

I can tell you right now, if you are even considering applying to YoungArts, YoungArts people are your people. They are your tribe and they will love and protect you, fiercely, eternally. YoungArts can make you unashamed to say that the people that know you best, the people you hold closest to your heart, are people you’ve spent less than 10 collective days with.

I was lucky enough not only to be a YoungArts 2011 Level I winner in Poetry but a 2011 U.S Presidential Scholar in the Arts as well. Being with my fellow presidential scholars and fellow YoungArts finalists, I experienced a feeling of invincibility that I had never dreamed of because I knew, without a doubt, that any idea I could ever conceive of could be carried out by the people surrounding me. That is the best feeling in the world; do not cheat yourself of that opportunity.

YoungArts will humble you and reward you at the same time, what starts as intimidation by the unworldly talent around you turns to the validation that you were picked to be a part of this group, that after countless hours of hard work, you have made it to a level that you weren’t even aware that you were reaching for. Your fellow finalists will praise you and their work will push you to work harder, to recreate the moment of heartbreak in the jazz finalist’s trumpet solo or the realism of a visual art’s finalist’s paintings.

YoungArts is thrilling and life affirming. It is the type of experience that I wish I could gift to everyone and I use that word because that’s what it is, it is a gift waiting to be given. The power is yours and, luckily, there is still time. The passion you will encounter, the talent you will experience will make you want to set the world aflame. So you’re thinking about applying to YoungArts? DO IT.