YoungArts Week

By Manuela Gabaldon

Our ability to foresee a promising future in the arts relies on our dedication to the continued support and endorsement of young artists, as the formation of our emerging talents is key in the process of establishing an everlasting culture. The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) is a leader of these efforts through its core program called YoungArts. YoungArts recognizes and supports our nation’s most talented high school seniors in the visual, literary and performing arts. With celebrity alumni like actress Vanessa Williams, singer Josh Groban, Entourage star Adrian Grenier, Tony Award-nominee Raúl Esparza and novelist Allegra Goodman, YoungArts serves as an elite platform for promising young artists seeking exposure and, ultimately, a life in the arts.

This year’s YoungArts Week, one of Miami’s greatest annual January events, showcases up to 150 of the nation’s most talented young artists with performances by finalists in Voice and Jazz, writers’ readings and an exhibition of eclectic artworks by the finalists in visual arts and photography, and displays by many other finalists who were chosen in December after a rigorous application and selection process that started in November.

YoungArts is the one and only nominating agency for the Presidential Scholars in the Arts award; Nicolle Ugarriza, director of public affairs for YoungArts explains, “In the summer, 20 students out of the original 150 are designated Presidential Scholars in the Arts and they go to the White House to be presented with their award. They also perform at the Kennedy Center and exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.” – An honor.

YoungArts week events are free and open to the public in well-known Miami venues such as The Gusman Center in downtown Miami for performing arts shows, The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse in the Design District for the visual arts exhibition, News Lounge in Midtown for a special Jazz Combo performance, and the University of Miami Gusman Hall for a chamber music concert. The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) believes in the importance of the public’s access to the arts as essential to their organization, “We are charged with helping young artists get their start,” Ugarriza says, “but we are also concerned about providing our community with affordable ways to see artistic talent.”

I dare say our city’s role as host to YoungArts Week and home of the NFAA is nothing short of perfection. “Miami has one of the most dynamic art scenes in the nation with Art Basel Miami Beach, a new state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center, one of the nation’s finest ballet companies – Miami City Ballet, as well as having so many talented local artists,” says Ugarriza, “In so many ways, Miami is really the city of the future and YoungArts is proud to be a part of this community for the past 28 years.” Our participation as a vital an ever evolving art scene parallels the NFAA’s mission of shaping our cultural profile through the recognition of our young talents.

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