YoungArts' National Arts Competition

Are you a 15- to 18-year-old visual, literary, or performing artist?

The 2022 YoungArts application will open in June 2021.

Sign up for competition updates and application tips straight to your inbox!


YoungArts’ signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12. Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, YoungArts winners receive financial awards, creative and professional development experiences working with renowned guest artists, and become eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Joining a 20,000-strong alumni community, YoungArts award winners form a rich network of peers that provides support and opportunities throughout artists’ careers.


National YoungArts Week

During this intensive program, Finalists across 10 artistic disciplines participate in classes and workshops with internationally recognized leaders in their fields. The 2021 program, “National YoungArts Week +”, will take place virtually.


Spring Programs

In an effort to give as many award winners as possible access to YoungArts programs during their winning year, and foster a strong sense of community at this early stage of their creative development, YoungArts is introducing virtual programs for all 2021 Finalist, Honorable Mention and Merit winners this spring. 
Through a series of virtual interdisciplinary sessions, classes and conversations, award winners will have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers from other disciplines, be exposed to unfamiliar techniques and principles, and learn about tools and concepts that are essential to the creative process. Artists will share their work, explore new ideas and grow their commitment to and understanding of their artistic practice. 

Additional Programs

All YoungArts award winners are eligible for exclusive opportunities throughout their artistic careers including a wide range of creative development support, and access to YoungArts Post—a private, online portal for YoungArts artists to connect, share their work and discover new opportunities.

Presidential Scholars Program

YoungArts winners are eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.



YoungArts' winners consist of the nation’s most promising young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts. Selected from a competitive pool of applications and representing artists from across the country, YoungArts winners gain access to one of the most comprehensive programs for emerging artists in the United States, offering financial, professional and artistic development opportunities over the course of their careers.


Guest Artists

YoungArts guest artists are some of the most distinguished and accomplished artists in their fields like Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jeanine Tesori, Frank Gehry, José Parlá, Mickalene Thomas, Wynton Marsalis and Salman Rushdie. They support YoungArts’ mission to cultivate and inspire the next generation of artists by graciously lending their time and expertise to work with YoungArts participants in each of our ten disciplines. 

College Recruitment Initiative

Applying to the YoungArts national competition can help young artists prepare for life after high school. By selecting to participate in the YoungArts Student List Service, applicants are connected with eligible colleges, conservatories and universities, and receive information about program offerings, financial aid and scholarships. This unique opportunity allows YoungArts applicants and winners to be seen by collegiate and pre-college programs institutions across the country.

For more information, contact Heike Dempster at [email protected].


For more information on the application process, click below.