The Magic of YoungARTS: A Recognition and Talent Search

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of three students talking in an workshop.

The Magic of YoungARTS: A Recognition and Talent Search

The YoungARTS recognition and talent search has been a beacon of hope and opportunity for young artists in the United States since its establishment in 1981. By offering financial support, mentorship, and a platform to showcase their work, the program has allowed countless young artists to hone their skills and excel in their chosen disciplines.

As a result, the YoungARTS program has played a pivotal role in the careers of numerous successful artists across a wide range of fields, from visual arts and dance to writing and music. Moreover, the program has contributed significantly to the growth and development of American art, fostering a rich and diverse artistic landscape.

The significance of the YoungARTS program cannot be overstated, particularly in today’s competitive, STEM-focused world. As arts education continues to face budget cuts and decreased emphasis in schools, the YoungARTS recognition and talent search stand as a reminder of the transformative power of the arts in the lives of young people.

Three arts students smiling for the camera while working.

Through its unwavering commitment to nurturing and empowering young artistic talent, the program not only fosters creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence but also helps to shape the next generation of artists who will carry forward the legacy of human culture and artistic expression. In this way, the YoungARTS program serves as an invaluable resource and source of inspiration for young artists and the broader artistic community alike.

The National YoungARTS Foundation emerged from the visionary minds of Lin and Ted Arison, who sought to bridge the gap in resources and opportunities available for young artists in the United States. With a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by emerging talent, the Arisons built a program tailored to address these needs and provide a solid foundation for the development of the next generation of artists.

At its core, the YoungARTS program aims to identify and nurture the brightest artistic talent from across the country. Through a rigorous application and selection process, the program selects promising young artists to receive financial awards, mentorship, and educational opportunities. These resources, combined with the prestige and recognition associated with being a YoungARTS winner, help to kickstart the careers of many aspiring artists, setting them on a path toward success in their chosen fields.

Over the years, the YoungARTS program has continued to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of the arts. In response to the increasing need for interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-genre exploration, the program has expanded its scope to include a diverse range of artistic disciplines.

Today, the YoungARTS program encompasses ten disciplines: cinematic arts, dance, design arts, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice, and writing. This broad spectrum of disciplines allows the program to support a wide array of talent, fostering a rich and varied artistic community.

The YoungARTS program has also established strategic partnerships with renowned institutions and organizations in the art world. These partnerships enable the foundation to provide young artists unparalleled access to valuable resources, networks, and opportunities. Through collaborations with prestigious institutions such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Sundance Film Festival, the YoungARTS program further elevates the platform it offers to its winners and alumni.

One of the most significant aspects of the YoungARTS program is its commitment to long-term support and mentorship for young artists. Recognizing that the journey of an artist is often filled with uncertainty and challenges, the program provides ongoing guidance, resources, and opportunities for its winners and alumni.

By maintaining a strong connection with its participants, the YoungARTS program ensures that its impact extends far beyond the initial award or recognition, fostering a lifelong relationship with its artists.

As a result of its tireless efforts and unwavering dedication to supporting young artists, the YoungARTS program has earned widespread respect and admiration from the artistic community.

Over the years, the program has garnered numerous accolades, including the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government. This prestigious recognition serves as a testament to the enduring legacy and impact of the YoungARTS program, as it continues to shape the future of the arts in the United States and beyond.

Objectives of YoungARTS

The YoungARTS Recognition and Talent Search focuses on several key objectives:

Identify and recognize emerging talent: YoungARTS seeks out talented artists aged 15-18 from across the United States, providing them with the exposure and recognition they deserve. The program accepts applications in ten different disciplines: cinematic arts, dance, design arts, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice, and writing.

Crumpled paper and a notebook in a table.

Provide financial support: The program offers financial awards ranging from $100 to $10,000, depending on the applicant’s level of achievement. These awards are designed to support the recipients’ artistic pursuits and education, allowing them to focus on honing their craft.

Annually, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars chooses 20 YoungArts award recipients at the Finalist level to be recognized as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. This prestigious distinction is among the nation’s top honors awarded to high school students who demonstrate exceptional academic and artistic achievements.

Offer educational and professional development: YoungARTS provides a range of educational opportunities, including masterclasses, workshops, and mentorship programs. These experiences help participants develop the skills and knowledge required for a successful career in the arts. Additionally, the foundation connects young artists with established professionals in their field, offering invaluable guidance and networking opportunities.

Create a community of artists: YoungARTS brings together like-minded individuals who share a passion for the arts. The program fosters camaraderie and collaboration, helping young artists establish lifelong connections and support systems.

What is the Impact of the YoungARTS Program?

The YoungARTS recognition and talent search has left an indelible mark on the lives of numerous young artists since its inception. To better understand the program’s impact, let’s delve deeper into its key areas of influence:

Fostering artistic expression: Just like any competition of the same nature, the YoungARTS program serves as a catalyst for creativity, inspiring participants to venture beyond their comfort zones, experiment with novel concepts, and take bold risks in their artistic pursuits.

By celebrating the individuality and unique perspectives of each participant, the program empowers young artists to cultivate their distinctive artistic voices and refine their craft.

Building self-confidence: Gaining recognition from a renowned program like YoungARTS can do wonders for a young artist’s self-confidence. The program not only showcases participants’ work on a prestigious platform but also offers constructive feedback from esteemed professionals in their respective fields.

Two students talking while walking in a campus.

This valuable input and acknowledgment of their talent instill a deep sense of accomplishment and pride in the young artists, propelling them toward further growth and success.

Creating opportunities: The success stories of YoungARTS alumni speak volumes about the program’s impact on their careers. Many alumni have gone on to achieve impressive feats in their chosen fields, earning prestigious accolades and collaborating with renowned institutions.

Being part of the YoungARTS program not only bolsters their résumés but also provides access to invaluable resources, networks, and opportunities that can set the foundation for a thriving artistic career.

Enriching the artistic community: The YoungARTS program plays a pivotal role in shaping the broader artistic landscape in the United States and beyond.

By identifying, nurturing, and promoting the next generation of artists, the program contributes to the ongoing growth and evolution of American art on both national and international levels. This long-term investment in young talent helps ensure that the arts continue to flourish and enrich the cultural fabric of society.

Female teacher talking to her students.

The YoungARTS Recognition and Talent Search has had a significant and far-reaching impact on the lives of many young artists. By fostering creativity, bolstering self-confidence, creating opportunities, and contributing to the artistic community at large, the program has become an invaluable resource for budding artists across the United States.

It is through these multifaceted efforts that the YoungARTS program continues to nurture and empower the next generation of artists, ensuring a vibrant and dynamic future for the arts.

Who are Some of the Notable YoungARTS Alumni?

Over the years, the YoungARTS Recognition and Talent Search has produced an impressive roster of talented and successful alumni. Some of these notable individuals include:

Viola Davis: The Academy Award-winning actress and producer was a YoungARTS finalist in theater in 1983. Her participation in the program helped launch her illustrious career, making her one of the most acclaimed actresses in Hollywood today.

Josh Groban: The multi-platinum recording artist and actor was a 1999 YoungARTS finalist in the voice category. Groban’s experience with the program provided a solid foundation for his successful career in the music and entertainment industry.

Kerry Washington: Best known for her role in the hit TV series “Scandal,” Kerry Washington was a 1994 YoungARTS finalist in theater. The program was pivotal in her journey to becoming a successful actress and producer.

Tarell Alvin McCraney: The playwright and screenwriter, who co-wrote the Academy Award-winning film “Moonlight,” was a 1999 YoungARTS finalist in the playwriting category. His participation in the program helped shape his unique artistic voice and opened doors to future opportunities.

Who are the Sponsors of YoungArts?

Who are the sponsors of YoungArts? The National YoungArts Foundation has garnered the support of numerous sponsors and partners, enabling it to fulfill its mission of identifying and nurturing the next generation of artists. These sponsors provide the necessary resources, financial support, and opportunities for young artists to excel in their chosen disciplines.

Founding Sponsor: Carnival Foundation

The Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation, has been a long-standing supporter of the YoungArts program. As the founding sponsor, the Carnival Foundation has provided financial support and resources to help launch and sustain the program over the years. This steadfast commitment has been instrumental in enabling YoungArts to become the prestigious platform it is today.

Premier Sponsor: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is another major sponsor of the YoungArts program, providing significant financial support to further the foundation’s mission. The partnership with Wells Fargo has allowed the program to expand its reach and impact, offering more opportunities for young artists across the United States.

National Premier Sponsor: UBS

As the National Premier Sponsor, UBS contributes financial resources and support to the YoungArts program. This partnership helps ensure that the program can continue to offer vital recognition, mentorship, and educational opportunities for emerging artists nationwide.

Legacy Sponsor: Bacardi USA

Bacardi USA has been a dedicated sponsor of the YoungArts program for several years. As the Legacy Sponsor, Bacardi USA’s support has allowed the program to grow and thrive, providing opportunities for countless young artists to showcase their talents and pursue their artistic ambitions.

Corporate Partners

The YoungArts program has also partnered with numerous corporations that share its commitment to nurturing young talent. These corporate partners provide financial support, resources, and opportunities for the program and its participants. Some notable corporate partners include:

Adobe: The partnership with Adobe allows YoungArts to provide its participants access to cutting-edge technology, software, and resources to help them develop their artistic skills.

NBCUniversal: The collaboration with NBCUniversal provides exposure and networking opportunities for YoungArts participants, helping to open doors in the entertainment industry.

Swarovski: The partnership with Swarovski supports YoungArts’ commitment to excellence in design arts, providing resources and mentorship for emerging designers.

Individual Donors

In addition to corporate sponsors, the YoungArts program also relies on the support of individual donors who are passionate about fostering the next generation of artists. These donors contribute financial resources, time, and expertise to help sustain and expand the program’s impact. Individual donors play a critical role in ensuring that the YoungArts program can continue to support and inspire young artists for years to come.

Government Agencies and Foundations

The YoungArts program also receives support from various government agencies and foundations, further bolstering its resources and reach. These organizations recognize the importance of investing in the arts and nurturing young talent, and their support helps to sustain the program’s ongoing success.

The National YoungArts Foundation has forged strong partnerships with a diverse array of sponsors and supporters, all of whom are committed to nurturing the next generation of artists.

These sponsors and partners are invaluable in providing the resources, financial support, and opportunities needed for young artists to excel in their chosen disciplines. Through their unwavering dedication and generosity, these sponsors help ensure the continued success and impact of the YoungArts program, shaping the future of the arts in the United States and beyond.

How to Participate in the YoungARTS Program?

If you or someone you know is a talented young artist, participating in the YoungARTS recognition and talent search can be a life-changing experience. Here are the steps to apply:

Determine eligibility: To be eligible for the program, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, aged 15-18, or in grades 10-12.

Choose your discipline: Select one of the ten disciplines offered by the program – cinematic arts, dance, design arts, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice, or writing.

A student surrounded by film negatives as part of her enrollment to a top film school

Prepare your portfolio: Compile a strong portfolio of your work, showcasing your unique style, skills, and creativity. Each discipline has specific submission requirements, so review them carefully.

Complete the application: Fill out the online application form, which includes personal information, artistic background, and a statement of intent. You will also need to submit your portfolio and pay the application fee.

Await results: Applications are reviewed by a panel of esteemed artists and professionals in each discipline. Finalists will be invited to participate in the National YoungARTS Week or Regional Programs, where they will have the opportunity to showcase their work, attend masterclasses, and connect with other talented young artists.


The YoungARTS Recognition and Talent Search has undoubtedly been a transformative force in the lives of innumerable young artists since its inception. By offering recognition, financial assistance, educational opportunities, and access to a nurturing community, the program has played a significant role in guiding the careers of numerous successful artists across various disciplines.

YoungARTS has not only equipped aspiring artists with invaluable resources and tools for their artistic development but has also instilled in them the confidence and inspiration to push boundaries and explore new creative horizons.

If you, or someone you know, possess exceptional artistic talent, consider applying for this prestigious program. Participating in the YoungARTS recognition and talent search could serve as the springboard for an extraordinary artistic journey, providing unparalleled opportunities for growth, mentorship, and exposure in the world of arts.

The program’s unwavering commitment to nurturing and empowering the next generation of artists makes it an ideal platform for young talent to flourish and make their mark in the ever-evolving artistic landscape. Don’t miss out on the chance to be part of this life-changing experience and embark on a path towards realizing your fullest artistic potential.

Want to learn more about the advantages of the YoungARTS recognition and talent search? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


College Admissions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.