I think that the arts are the soul of our nation. I felt that the arts had almost become an endangered species and I realized, especially with young people, that YoungArts will ensure the future of our soul.

– Ted Arison
Dancer at ARTS Week, now known as National YoungArts Week, in 1982. Photo by Bob Harris.



Notable Winners

Terence Blanchard, Classical Music

John McNamara, Writing

Dancers audition for ARTS [YoungArts] competition in 1981.
Intense concentration shows on the faces of talented young actors as they receive instruction during ARTS auditions in 1980.

Notable Winners

Denyce Graves, Voice

Wendell Pierce*, Theater

Vanessa Williams, Theater

Sharon Yamada, Classical Music


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA), known today as YoungArts, is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by Ted and Lin Arison, who see the need for a single organization to identify, encourage and award emerging talent in all art forms. 

Ted and Lin Arison at a Lowe reception in 1982.

For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who were as thrilled about music as I was, who face the same problems and challenges that I do, and who think about life the way I do.

John McGinn (1982 Classical Music & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts)
Rachel Moore (1982 Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) dancing at ARTS Week in 1982.

Notable Winners

Manuel Acevedo, Photography

Robert Hurst*, Jazz

Rachel Moore*, Dance

John Ridley, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


NFAA becomes the sole nominating organization for U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

1982 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Photo by Barbara Ries.

The ARTS Scholarship Program, an initiative to connect award winners with postsecondary educational institutions, debuts with more than 100 participating colleges and conservatories who collectively earmark more than $3 million in scholarships and awards annually for ARTS award winners. Today the program continues as the Student List Service, and includes Pratt Institute, Manhattan School of Music, Columbia and many more. 


Kevin Berlin (1983 Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) at work.

Five YoungArts award winners, including visual artist Kevin Berlin, participate in Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Surrounded Islands in Biscayne Bay. 


Events for young artists are held at Lincoln Center (New York, NY), The Music Center in Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA), Aspen Music Festival (Aspen, CO) and Gusman Cultural Center (Miami, FL) to inform potential applicants, parents and teachers about NFAA. Special guests include composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, American Ballet member Fernando Bujones and actress Ally Sheedy.

It’s an affirmation that you were right. Whether it was singing or dancing or acting, you knew that you were good enough to get there and people recognized it.

Vanessa Williams (1981 Theater)
Elizabeth Johnson Kostova (1983 Writing & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) at Vizcaya during ARTS Week in 1983.

Notable Winners

Viola Davis, Theater

Nicole Eisenman, Visual Arts

Ron Eldard, Theater

Elizabeth Kostova, Writing

Lauren Greenfield, Photography

David Lipsky, Writing


Liam Harney (1984 Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) performs at The Kennedy Center in 1984.

Notable Winners

Jonathan Adler, Visual Arts

Doug Blush, Film

Liam Harney*, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

My grandfather was actually an aspiring concert pianist, born and raised in Tel Aviv. He did not find the support to pursue a career in the arts. The response was, ‘Go get a real job.’ He did. He came to the States and when he reached a point where he was able to give back, he looked at my grandmother and said, ‘I never want another young, aspiring, talented artist to go through what I went through. I want them to have all the resources they need to pursue an education and a career in the arts.’

-Sarah Arison on her grandfather Ted Arison 

Award winners in Dance participate in the Carlisle Project, an initiative for ballet and choreography training by Pennsylvania Ballet Company founder Barbara Weisberger.

Michael McElroy at ARTS Week in 1985.

Notable Winners

Eric Bean, Photography

David Costabile, Theater

Vince Gilligan, Visual Arts

Allegra Goodman*, Writing

Michael McElroy, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


ARTS competition theater awardees are sponsored at the Midsummer in Oxford residency.


The Charles Cinnamon Awards are funded with a $15,000 gift from PROPS, an organization of professional women in the arts, to assist past ARTS competition awardees in career-entry projects. Funding opportunities for award winners in all career stages continue today as emergency and creative microgrants.



New World Symphony (NWS) is established by NFAA trustee and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas as a training orchestra for young conservatory graduates with the support of Ted Arison under NFAA. NWS becomes a separate, but affiliated organization in 1987.

Desmond Richardson performing at ARTS Week in 1986. Photo by Luis Castañeda.

Notable Winners

Doug Aitken, Visual Arts

Anna Gunn, Theater

Sam Lipsyte*, Writing

Philip Neal*, Dance

Desmond Richardson*, Dance

Sheryl Staples, Classical Music

Steven Tannen, Theater

Anthony Wilson, Jazz


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

It changed me completely. It was an amazing experience and it still is with me.

Desmond Richardson (1986 Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts)
Visual Arts award winner at ARTS Week in 1987.
Visual Arts award winner painting at ARTS Week in 1987.
David Eggar (1987 Classical Music & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) performs at ARTS Week in 1987.

Notable Winners

Dave Eggar*, Classical Music

Joel Fan*, Classical Music

Jenji Kohan, Writing

Laurence Mason, Theater

Eileen Moon, Classical Music

Billy Porter, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


Person wearing a bib with the number 12 pointing to the
Thomas Lennon at 1988 ARTS Week.

Notable Winners

Raul Esparza, Theater

Joseph Gramley*, Classical Music

Roy Hargrove, Jazz

Richard Hawley*, Classical Music

Thomas Lennon, Theater

Brad Mehldau, Jazz

Eric Owens, Voice

Donna Lynne Champlin*, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

two people, one standing and playing a clarinet, the other watching from behind a counter.
Ricardo Morales-Matos plays clarinet during ARTS Week in 1989. Photo by Gino Allessandri.

Notable Winners

Katie Finneran, Theater

Ricardo Morales-Matos*, Classical Music

Chris Potter, Jazz

Lamman Rucker, Theater

Hynden Walch*, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


A career in the arts is a hard road to follow. YoungArts gave me the early recognition and validation that is so important for your confidence and trust in yourself. The experience lets you know that if I can do this, I can do anything… [it] gives you the confidence to do what you need to do to advance your career, and go somewhere you can engage with other artists and give yourself the certainty that this is a community that I want to be invested in.

Jean Shin (1990 Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts)

Notable Winners

Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum*, Writing
Christopher Castellani, Writing
Dennis McNicholas, Writing, Visual Arts
Jean Shin*, Visual Arts
Jason Vieaux, Classical Music


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

ARTS Week Visual Arts exhibition in 1990. Photo by Robert Parente.


NFAA partners with the International Association of Jazz Educators and adds Jazz—in addition to Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, Writing—as a sixth and separate discipline in the YoungArts program.

U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts on the White House South Lawn with YoungArts co-founder Lin Arison in 1991.

Notable Winners

Keiko Agena, Theater

Deirdre Chapman, Dance

Michael Loveland, Visual Arts

Matthew Rushing*, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts


Award winner in Writing during ARTS Week in 1992.

Notable Winners

Teodross Avery, Jazz

Lisa Kim*, Classical Music


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

Fifteen years later, I am as excited about acting as I was during [National YoungArtsWeek]…I owe so much to [YoungArts] for seeing that spark of talent in me and encouraging me to keep developing my craft.


Glenn Peters (1992 Theater & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts)

Notable Winners

Jay Franke, Dance

Aisha Hinds, Theater

Jason Moran, Jazz

Sarah Paulson, Theater

New York City Ballet Camerata in 1993.

Photography and Jazz become independent disciplines, separated from Visual Arts and Music, respectively.

Timothy Willcox (1993 Jazz & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) performing at The Kennedy Center in 1993.

Notable Winners

Naomi Fisher, Visual Arts

Anna Fricke*, Writing

Adrian Grenier, Theater

Don Hertzfeldt, Film

Jennifer Koh*, Classical Music

Jennifer 8. Lee, Writing

Erik Liberman, Theater

Linda Celeste Sims, Dance

Corey Stoll, Theater

Kerry Washington, Theater

Mario Alberto Zambrano*, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

Award winners in Writing at ARTS Week in 1994.
Ani Aznavoorian (1995 Classical Music & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) performs at The Kennedy Center in 1995.

Notable Winners

Corrine May Botz*, Photography

Lisa Joy, Writing

Steven Pasquale, Theater

Kehinde Wiley, Visual Arts

Hernan Bas, Photography, Visual Arts


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts


Voice becomes an independent discipline.



Notable Winners

Matt Bomer, Theater

Claire Chase*, Classical Music

Mandy Gonzalez, Voice

Gillian Murphy, Dance

Victor Quinaz, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

Overjoyed! I have never experienced such a caring environment that was so nurturing and inspiring… I am grateful for all of NFAA’s support. This experience has encouraged me to continue pursuing the arts and striving for excellence. 


Andrew Rannells (1997 Theater)
YoungArts Gala performance in 1997.

Notable Winners

Kenyon Adams*, Theater

Camille A. Brown*, Dance

Craig Hall, Dance

Adam Jacobs, Theater

Andrew Rannells, Theater

Frank Rosenwein, Classical Music

Zuzanna Szadkowski*, Theater

Michael Benjamin Washington*, Theater

Tony Yazbeck, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

Tamar Davis (1998 Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) performs at The Kennedy Center in 1998.

Notable Winners

Caroline Campbell, Classical Music

Bryan Terrell Clark, Theater

Tamar Davis*, Voice

Kelcy Griffin, Theater

Sarah Lamb*, Dance

Michael Urie, Theater

Clifford Williams, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts


Notable Winners

Daniel Arsham, Visual Arts

Nicholas Britell, Classical Music

Brandon Victor Dixon, Theater

Catherine Foster, Dance

Ethan Lader, Film

Tarell Alvin McCraney, Theater

Rory O’Malley, Theater

Amanda Seales, Theater

Sean Suozzi, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

1999 Award winners in Theater.

[YoungArts] made me realize that I’d limited myself too quickly, that it was okay to believe in this pursuit of art. 

Jennifer Nelson (1999 Writing)



Notable Winners

Peter Buttigieg, Photography

Alina Dronova, Dance

Santino Fontana*, Theater, Voice

Alan Hampton, Jazz

Leslie Jamison, Writing

Taran Killam, Theater

Patricia Lockwood, Writing

Nicki Minaj, Theater

Jared Padalecki, Theater

Elizabeth Roe, Classical Music

D. Watts, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

Elizabeth Joy Roe (2000 Classical Music) performs during ARTS Week in 2000.

The Film & Video discipline, once known as Cinematic Arts and now Film, is added.

2001 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts with YoungArts President Dr. William H. Banchs and Trustee Kenneth Williams.

Notable Winners

Mayte Natalio, Dance

Marco Ramirez*, Writing


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts



Notable Winners

Antonio Campos*, Film

Gerald Clayton*, Jazz

Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Dance

Judith Hill, Voice

Sarah Lane*, Dance

Nicole Beharie, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

It was then [at National YoungArts Week] that I really started to believe in myself. I became an Artist.


Michael Littig (2001 Theater)

Notable Winners

Lia Cirio, Dance

Shamel Pitts, Dance

Marcus Jarrell Willis, Dance

Finn Wittrock*, Theater

Chris Young*, Voice


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

Award winners in Dance at ARTS Week in 2003.

YoungArts Gold Awards of $10,000 are created for finalists in Dance, Film & Video, Instrumental Classical Music, Jazz, Photography, Visual Arts, Voice and Writing.

Remy Le Boeuf rehearsing with Pascal Le Boeuf at ARTS Week in 2004.

Notable Winners

Siobhan Burke, Dance

David Aaron Carpenter*, Classical Music

Chanel DaSilva*, Dance

Pascal Le Boeuf, Jazz, Classical Music

Remy Le Boeuf, Jazz

Rachael Price, Voice

Joseph Wiggan*, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts


Notable Winners

Jon Batiste, Jazz

Sarah Daley, Dance

Maya Erskine, Theater

Jay Armstrong Johnson, Theater

Lucas Leyva, Film

Waldean Nelson, Dance

Nic Rouleau, Theater

Rebecca Sugar, Visual Arts

Maleek Washington, Dance

Award winners in Film (then Cinematic Arts) at ARTS Week in 2005.
Teachers' Conference at ARTS Week in 2005. Photo by Juan Cabrera.

The first ARTS Educators Conference, today known as the Educator Experience, engages with arts educators across the U.S.


A record 160 artists attend YoungArts Week in celebration of the 25th anniversary.


The anniversary is further recognized by increasing monetary support for artists by 50%, totaling more than $525,000 in cash awards.

Grace Weber (2006 Theater, Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) performs at ARTS Week in 2006.

Notable Winners

Joseph Gorak, Dance

Lauren Post, Dance

Grace Weber*, Theater, Voice

Stephanie Williams, Dance

*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts


Rehearsing a Dream, a documentary about YoungArts directed by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, is nominated for an Academy Award. 

Jay Jackson (2007 Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) performs during "Salute to the 2007 Presidential Scholars" at The Kennedy Center. Photo by Foto Briceno.

Notable Winners

Danielle Brooks, Theater

Griffith Frank, Theater

Kimiko Glenn, Theater

Jay Jackson*, Dance

Joaquina Kalukango, Theater

Lorely Rodriguez, Voice


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts


Notable Winners

Grey Henson, Theater

James Allister Sprang, Visual Arts

James Allister Sprang attends National YoungArts Week in 2008.

I believe every experience with emotional investment changes us. So far YoungArts has changed the way I photograph, the way I talk to people and the way I view the world.


Erin Jane Nelson (2008 Photography)

Notable Winners

Marcus Canty, Voice

Jeffrey Cirio, Dance

Kate Davis*, Jazz, Voice

Jazzmeia Horn, Voice


*U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts

Kate Davis (2009 Jazz, Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) attending National YoungArts Week in 2009.


Now, after YoungArts, I am the opposite of jaded. I have rediscovered dreams, have decided to eschew so-called “practicality,” and really, with all of my being, pursue art.

Carolyn Durlacher (2000 Writing)


Notable Winners

Jacquelin Harris, Dance

Colby Minifie, Theater

MJ Rodriguez, Voice

Ida Saki*, Dance

Max Schneider, Theater

Sarah Smith, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

Max Schneider (2010 Theater) and Malcolm Gets at National YoungArts Week in 2010. Photo by Jim Tiller.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts rehearse at The Kennedy Center in 2011. Photo by Robert Leslie.

Notable Winners

India Carney*, Voice, Theater

Ryan McCartan*, Theater

Ruby Spiegel, Writing

Conrad Tao*, Classical Music

Caleb Teicher, Dance

Cassandra Trenary, Dance


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


The organization changes its name from National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA) to National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts).

YoungArts announcement of Bacardi Building(s) purchase in 2012. Photo by Tomas Loewy.

YoungArts acquires the iconic former Bacardi buildings and surrounding grounds in Miami. Famed architect and guest artist Frank Gehry is enlisted to restore iconic spaces within the campus, including the YoungArts Jewel Box and Ted’s, a salon performance space on the seventh floor of the tower that today is also used for artist residencies, community gatherings and special events.  

Da'Shawn Mosley (2012 Writing & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts).

Notable Winners

Michelle Ang*, Theater

Harrison Coll, Dance

Brandon Flynn, Theater

Greg Lau, Dance

Da’Shawn Mosley*, Writing

Danica Paulos, Dance

Jaz Sinclair, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts





YoungArts launches the Salon Series, with support from Knight Foundation, to bring together creative art luminaries and public audiences. Salon events go on to include Sibylle Szaggars Redford and Robert Redford, Justin Peck and Sufjan Stevens, Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, Edwidge Dandicat, Fab 5 Freddy and more.


Notable Winners

Timothee Chalamet, Theater

Miguel Luciano, Theater

Justice Smith, Theater

Demi Remick, Dance

Nina Grollman, Voice


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

Marina Abramović in the Jewel Box, Miami Art Week 2013.

YoungArts presents its inaugural Miami Art Week program to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach on its new campus, A Portrait of Marina Abramović with the artist in collaboration with VisionaireFILM. 


Since, memorable Miami Art Week presentations include James Blake and FKA twigs with III Points Music Festival; The Future Was Written by Daniel Arsham (1999 Visual Arts); installations by Isaac Julien and José Parlá in partnership Rolls-Royce; and award winner group exhibitions curated by Deana Haggag and Derrick Adams. 

Design Arts award winner Lucy Leith at National YoungArts Week in 2014.

The Design Arts discipline is introduced to accept applications from artists in architecture, product, graphic, and fashion design. Today, YoungArts is one of the only organizations in the U.S. that supports artists across 10 disciplines. 


The first-ever national YoungArts Awareness Day is launched to inspire young artists to apply to the organization’s signature arts competition. Today, this initiative occurs annually in September and continues as a participatory digital campaign that engages past award winners, guest artists, educators, donors and public audiences to share their stories and encourage aspiring artists to pursue their creative paths. 

Ricky Ubeda dances at National YoungArts Week performance in 2014.

Notable Winners

Gaby Diaz, Dance

Isabella LaFreniere, Dance

Ricky Ubeda, Dance




Desmond Richardson (1986 Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) and his company Complexions Contemporary Ballet spend two weeks in residency at the campus’s newly renovated Jewel Box studio. They are preparing an original work by Complexions co-founder Dwight Rhoden to premiere at the company’s annual Joyce Theater Season in New York. 


Notable Winners

King Princess, Voice

Quinn Sullivan, Voice

Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, Classical Music

Amanda Gorman, Writing


YoungArts expands recruitment efforts from schools to include non-traditional classroom settings that reach educators in community centers, cultural institutions, teen programs and more. Kicking off this initiative, guest artist Derrick Adams offers a portfolio review session at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn. 


Notable Winners

Ben Levi Ross*, Theater

Joe Serafini, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

Ben Levi Ross (2016 Theater & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) working with Debbie Allen at The Kennedy Center in 2016. Photo by Chistopher Duggan.
Aerial view of YoungArts New York Gala at The Metropolitan Museum Temple of Dendur. Photo by BFA.

YoungArts toasts 35 years with its inaugural New York Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


YoungArts commissions 15 interdisciplinary and multi-generational award winners to create five films that speak to the transformative power of creativity. Dubbed “Transformations”, topics in the film series range from identity and the environment to social justice and self-discovery.


In Process is introduced as a pilot program that invites two past award winners working in different disciplines to create new work on the YoungArts campus. With a focus on experimentation, no public presentation is required of the artists. This initiative is part of YoungArts’ effort to promote interdisciplinary collaboration, experimentation and creative development.

Kayla Briët (2016 Film) and Ernest Baker (2009 Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) in coversation for 2018 In Process. Photo by Andrea Lorena (FujifilmGirl).

Notable Winners

Hunter Schafer, Design Arts

Roman Banks, Theater


*U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

Design Arts award winner Hunter Schafer at National YoungArts Week in 2017. Photo by Gesi Schilling.

YoungArts launches Up Next professional development symposia for award winners in New York and Los Angeles. The programs go on to expand their reach as Up Next Focus and Up Next Skills

Panel discussion with Simone Yvette Leigh and Samora Pinderhughs (2009, 2010 Jazz) Up Next New York Symposia in 2017.

The YoungArts Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award is established. A $50,000 scholarship is given each year to a YoungArts winner in Writing, and may be applied against the cost of tuition, room and board to attend an accredited school of the artist’s choice. The inaugural recipient is Aidan Forster (2017, 2018 Writing & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts).


YoungArts launches YoungArts Post, an online portal for award winners to connect, create and collaborate.

Lin and Sarah Arison at YoungArts Gala in 2011. Photo by World Red Eye.

Sarah Arison is appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees of YoungArts

“I am honored and humbled to have been appointed Chair by the Board of Trustees,” said Sarah Arison. “YoungArts has always been a part of my life. My grandparents, Ted and Lin Arison, founded the organization nearly 40 years ago to help ensure that the artists of tomorrow would receive the validation, personal support and resources they need to pursue their passions.”


The Exhibition and Residency at Bay Parc, a rotating exhibition and residency initiative, provides three YoungArts award winners with resources and space to create a site-specific installation at Parc Space, a 500-square-foot gallery within Bay Parc Apartments. Participants include past award winners Nadia Wolff (2016 Design Arts, Visual Arts & a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Lee Pivnik (2014 Visual Arts) and Patty Suau (2003 Visual Arts).


The YoungArts Campus, formerly the Bacardi Buildings Complex, is placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

YoungArts award winners in Film attend Sundance in 2018. Photo by JeanCarlo Ramirez (2012 Film).

Five YoungArts award winners attend the prestigious Sundance Film Festival to participate in the Ignite program of activities for artists under the age of 25 years. Today the program continues through an open call process on YoungArts Post.


YoungArts expands its mission, signaling a shift to support award winners beyond their teenage years and at all career stages: YoungArts identifies the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary and performing arts, and provides them with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers.


This mission underpins our vision to empower artists to pursue a life in the arts by providing award winners with space, funding, mentorship, professional development and community. 


Excellence, collaboration, inclusivity, experimentation, respect and integrity are at the core of each of these concepts. Learn more about our values and commitment to inclusivity

Naiomy Guerrero, Darlene Perez, Chat Travieso (2003 Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Kathia St. Hilaire (2013 Visual Arts), and Jorge M. Perez attend National YoungArts Foundation Backyard Ball Performance and Gala on January 12, 2019 in Miami. Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for National YoungArts Foundation.

The YoungArts Jorge M. Pérez Award, funded by The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation, is established to offer unrestricted grants for emerging and mid-career artists who are YoungArts award winners. The inaugural recipients are Kathia St. Hilaire (2013 Visual Arts) and Chat Travieso (2003 Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts).


U.S. Presidential Scholars Foundation & Alumni Association turns 55 years, and the Presidential Scholars in the Arts program celebrates 40 years.


YoungArts board chair Sarah Arison accepts the Dr. Felice Kaufmann Award on behalf of her grandmother, Lin Arison; and trustee emeritus, choreographer and YoungArts award winner Desmond Richardson (1986 Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) is named a Rosey Thompson honoree.




Academy of American Poets, Artadia, Creative Capital, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MAP Fund, United States Artists and YoungArts launch Artist Relief to spearhead a $10 million relief campaign for artists in the U.S. affected by COVID-19. In total, Artist Relief distributes close to $23.4 million in emergency grants to 4,680 artists with $5,000 emergency relief grants over 15 months.


YoungArts additionally introduces Artist Emergency Microgrants for YoungArts award winners. The emergency microgrants program expands and is extended to offer support to guest artists and panelists. 


YoungArts launches an all-virtual national outreach initiative to engage educators and recruit young artists for the organization’s signature competition. Despite conditions caused by the pandemic, more than 7,000 artists apply and 687 winners are awarded from 38 states, Puerto Rico and three foreign countries.


YoungArts hosts the first virtual National YoungArts Week + to prioritize young artists’ safety while providing meaningful opportunities for connection, mentorship and creative development.


The program’s annual Educator Experience and a new Family Orientation initiative are introduced virtually.


National YoungArts Foundation officially changes its name to YoungArts to underline the critical juncture when award winners are inducted into a lifelong community of support.


We thank award winners for sharing their art and stories with us since 1981. Please direct image and video requests for media purposes to hdempster@youngarts.org. For any other enquiries and to request any changes or content removal, please contact communication@youngarts.org.