MIAMI, FL (February 16, 2021) – National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) announces Alora Young as the recipient of the 2021 YoungArts Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award, a $50,000 scholarship given each year to a YoungArts winner in Writing. Young may apply the financial award against the cost of tuition, room and board to attend an accredited school of her choice.

Now in its fourth year, the award demonstrates how individual donor support for YoungArts award winners can create transformative opportunities for artists throughout their careers. The Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award is part of YoungArts’ ongoing programmatic expansion, offering additional creative and professional development opportunities for artists throughout their careers. 

“The top criterion of the YoungArts Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award is literary excellence. We therefore looked for a writer not only with deep and unique insights but the extraordinary command of language required to express them,” said Christopher Castellani (1992 YoungArts Winner in Writing and National Selection Panelist). “We found this in Alora Young, whose dynamism and dexterity with voice, metaphor, image and idea — coupled with her passion for justice, her knowledge of history and literature, her boundless imagination, her fierce intelligence, and her limitless potential — frequently took our breath away.”

“YoungArts has offered me the kind of community I have been looking for since I first penned a poem: People with a relentless passion for spreading art and kindness alongside it,” said Young. “I make art to bring worlds that only exist in my dreams to life. I make art to honor all of the people in my family who never got the chance to. I’m so incredibly grateful for this scholarship because it will give me the opportunity to pursue creative writing into adulthood and do what so many of my ancestors only dreamed of in secret; change the world that did everything to stop up us from dreaming.”

Alora Young is a spoken word artist and Youth Poet Laureate of Nashville, Tennessee. A senior at Hillsboro High School, Young serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Burro Underground and is the recipient of The Princeton Prize in Race Relations. She is the founder of AboveGround, a nonprofit organization seeking to create equity in Nashville elementary schools through a combination of creative writing and Black history. Young is also a TedX Speaker, and her work has previously been published in The New York Times, Signal Mountain Review and Rigorous Magazine.

About National YoungArts Foundation

National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison. 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. Entrance into this prestigious organization starts with a highly competitive application process for talented artists ages 15–18, or grades 10–12, in the United States, that is judged by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process. All YoungArts award winners receive financial awards and the chance to learn from notable artists such as Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Frank Gehry, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Mickalene Thomas as well as past YoungArts award winners such as Daniel Arsham, Terence Blanchard, Camille A. Brown, Viola Davis, Allegra Goodman, Josh Groban, Judith Hill, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Andrew Rannells, Desmond Richardson and Hunter Schafer. 

YoungArts award winners are further eligible for exclusive opportunities including: nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school seniors; a wide range of creative development support including fellowships, residencies and awards; professional development programs offered in partnership with major institutions nationwide; additional financial support; and access to YoungArts Post, a private, online portal for YoungArts artists to connect, share their work and discover new opportunities.

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Headshot of Alora Young