Celebrating 40 Years for Artists


We are delighted to welcome you to this milestone 40th anniversary occasion and thank you for joining us to celebrate the artists, their impact and YoungArts.


From the first classes of award winners including Terence Blanchard, Vanessa Williams and Queen Esther, to the 2021 award winners, who despite the challenges created by the pandemic, stood firm and declared, “I am an artist” — we honor each of you.


These are historic times. And yet, in a little more than one month, the 2022 YoungArts winners — only 15 to 18 years in age — will join us virtually for workshops, seminars and master classes that will help them pursue careers in the arts. This is the continuation of a four-decade-long tradition of recognizing, affirming and championing emerging artists who we have seen change the face of arts and culture in this country. We are grateful to be a part of their journey.


Tonight, we are excited to applaud this inspiring network of artists: artists who have shared music that can bring us to tears, art that inspires a better world, poetry that can motivate a nation and design that changes the way we live. 


We look forward to many more years of providing artists with life-long access to funding, mentorship and creative and professional development. With more than 20,000 YoungArts awardees, 820 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and artists across 10 creative disciplines, we are still just getting started.


None of this would be possible without the strength and resilience of our community: the friends, family, educators, mentors, and supporters who lift up artists each day. We are grateful to celebrate with you here in Miami, where it all began.


Sarah Arison
Board Chair

Jewel Malone
Executive Director

YoungArts Board of Trustees

Sarah Arison | Board Chair
Richard Kohan | President of The Board
Natalie Diggins | Secretary
Richard S. Wagman** | Treasurer


Derrick Adams
Doug Blush
Hampton Carney
Linda Coll
Brian Cullinan
Kristy Edmunds
Bernardo Fort-Brescia
Jay Franke* 
Danielle Garno
Rosie Gordon-Wallace
Michi Matter Jigarjian
Jason Kraus
Steven Marks
Michael McElroy*
Dr. Joan Morgan
John J. O’Neil
Glenda Pedroso
Victoria Rogers
Marcus Sheridan
Jean Shin*
Zuzanna Szadkowski*
Sandra Tamer
Joseph M. Thompson
Maurice M. Zarmati


Trustees Emeritus
Armando M. Codina
Meryl Comer
Justin DiCioccio
Agnes Gund
John J. Kauffman
Dr. Ronald C. McCurdy
Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón
Desmond Richardson*

* YoungArts Award Winner

** Trustee Emertitus

Birthday Party

Sarah Arison and Thomas Wilhelm 
Jay Franke and David Herro
Rosie Gordon-Wallace
Simon and Nikolai Haas
Rosie Herrera
Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation 
Nu Deco Ensemble

Jorge M. and Darlene Pérez

Birthday Party

Sarah Arison and Thomas Wilhelm 

Jill Braufman and Daniel Nir

Adriana Cisneros and Nicholas Griffin 

Tracey Corwin

Jay Franke and David Herro

Danielle and Greg Garno

Rosie Gordon-Wallace

Simon and Nikolai Haas

Rosie Herrera

Alex and Carolyn Hurst

Alberto Ibargüen, Knight Foundation 

Richard and Amy Kohan

Steven and Oxana Marks 

Nu Deco Ensemble

Jorge M. and Darlene Pérez 

Oti and Remi Roberts 

Sandra and Tony Tamer 

Tarin and Andrew Teno 

Sue and Beau Wrigley 

Maurice M. Zarmati



Queen Esther (1983 Theater), Master of Ceremonies 

Designed by Michael Beltran

Queen Esther & Her Orchestra

Toast to 40 Years
Sarah Arison and YoungArts Birthday Party co-chairs


Dinner Menu

First Course:
Wahoo Avocado Mosaic
Local avocado, starfruit aguachile, cucumber, trout roe

Main Course:
Ariete Shortrib 
Gem lettuce salad, pickled fennel, aerated caesar dressing

Vegan option available upon request.


Birthday cake and an assortment of truffles & cookies by Milk Bar, New York.

About Michael Beltran

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in Miami who lives and breathes his hometown more than Chef Michael Beltran. Passionate, creative and honest to a fault, the thirty-five-year-old Cuban American is chef, owner and partner at Ariete Hospitality Group, which includes restaurants Ariete, Navé, and Chugs Cuban Diner, and beloved watering holes The Scapegoat and The Taurus. Beltran’s concepts are the embodiment of his dream of creating a family of locally beloved restaurants and bars to suit every occasion — from a quick drink with friends to a working lunch to an unforgettable night out.   


Beltran was raised in a traditional Cuban-American Miami household that was big on home-cooked meals shared at the family dinner table. Opened in 2016, Ariete is Beltran’s love letter to his Miami. One of the city’s most dynamic concepts, Ariete is notable for innovative dishes that meld the flavors of his Cuban-American upbringing with New American cuisine. The restaurant continues to grow its audience with a solid year-round local following and a permanent place on everyone’s “where to dine in Miami” lists. It also served to establish Beltran as a national talent who has collected impressive accolades like 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards “Best Chef: South” semifinalist, Eater’s “Restaurant of the Year,” Miami New Times “Best New Restaurant,” features in Bon Appetit magazine and multiple nods from The New York Times


Beltran was already feeding Miami lunch and dinner at Ariete, but his quest to conquer the world’s dining needs continued with the opening of Chug’s Cuban Diner, which opened for breakfast as well. An all-day American style diner with a menu studded with Cuban classics at affordable prices, Chug’s immediately struck a chord with Miamians who showed up early for the already legendary pastelitos and fritas.


In 2019, collaborating with Chef Justin Flit, formerly of Proof Miami, Beltran opened Navé to rave reviews. Adjacent to Ariete, Navé features a simple yet sophisticated, seafood-centric menu and an extensive libations program served in a casual yet stunning indoor/outdoor space. The restaurant embodies the blending of each chef’s unique style and culinary approach; Beltran’s refined fine dining capabilities are the perfect complement to Flit’s more rustic, robust American and Italian cookery. 


When he’s not busy coming up with new dishes or concepts for his restaurants,  Beltran is out in the community supporting other local restaurants, taping Pan Con Podcast and running PIG INC. apparel line with Miami-centric clothing. An ardent ambassador for his city’s diverse, rich food scene, Beltran is among a group of talented young chefs who are redefining the next era of Miami dining. At Ariete, Chug’s and Navé, the talented toque continues to raise the bar with his inventive cuisine as he aims to leave a lasting impact on the Magic City’s culinary landscape.



Queen Esther (1983 Theater)

Raised in Atlanta, Georgia and wholly embedded in Charleston, South Carolina’s culturally rich and enigmatic Lowcountry — a region with African traditions and Black folkways that span centuries and continuously inform her work — Harlem-based performer Queen Esther uses her Southern roots as a touchstone to sonically explore cultural mores in America, deconstructing well-worn historical narratives and creating a reclamation-driven soundscape.

Critics have described her as “…a Black Lucinda Williams…” (Vanity Fair) “…Aretha Franklinesque…” (Feedback), with vocal comparisons shifting easily from Billie Holiday and Sly Stone to Melissa Etheridge and Nina Simone. Produced by Queen Esther, her self-released critically acclaimed Black Americana album Gild The Black Lily is “…a minor masterpiece…” (LIRA). It is the fourth project from her imprint EL Recordings and continues to make waves internationally since its March 2021 release.

A playwright-in-residence at New Perspectives Theater Company’s 2021 Women’s Work Short Play LAB and American Theater Group’s PlayLab 2021 – 2023, Queen Esther is in rehearsals for MacArthur Genius performer/playwright Taylor Mac’s jazz opera The Hang — scheduled to make its world premiere in the Prototype Festival, January 2022.


Jeff McLaughlin

Guitarist Jeff McLaughlin has performed around the world, including concerts at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, the Indy Jazz Fest in Indianapolis, the Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Americanafest in Nashville and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. He has appeared as a sideman and with his own projects in famed venues such as The Apollo Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 55 Bar, Blue Note Jazz Club, Minton’s Playhouse, The Bar Next Door, City Winery, The Blue Whale in Los Angeles, as well as Nashville’s Musician’s Corner and Basement East.


Sean Mason

Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sean Mason studied music at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and The Juilliard School. In his short but already groundbreaking career, Mason has played and toured with many jazz professionals, most prominently Branford Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis, among many others. Mason is based in New York City, and aside from being a sideman for many successful jazz bands around the city, he leads his own band, The Sean Mason Trio, which performs and tours across the globe.


Hilliard Greene

Hilliard Greene has been studying music for more than 50 years. Greene studied at the University of Northern Iowa, Berklee College of Music and SUNY Empire and is currently a faculty member at the Collective in New York City. He has performed widely in major cities throughout the U.S., Canada, Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, the West Indies and South America and in numerous New York City nightclubs, concert halls “…(including Carnegie Hall), radio, television and recording studios.”


Warren Smith

Warren Smith is known for masterful percussion work with an endless array of jazz artists and a bevy of pop stars; in countless studios and Broadway pit bands; as well as on more than 3,000 recordings. He might be the only man alive who has played with Nat King Cole, Harry Partch and Charles Mingus, as well as Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand. In 1961 he co-founded the Composers Workshop Ensemble, which is ongoing. Over the decades, he has worked with Muhal Richard Abrams, Count Basie, Anthony Braxton, Bill Cole, Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Julius Hemphill, Quincy Jones, Janis Joplin (as her musical director), Makanda Ken McIntyre, Carmen McRae, Van Morrison, Sam Rivers, Nina Simone, Henry Threadgill, Andrew White, Tony Williams’ Lifetime, Nancy Wilson and Joe Zawinul. Smith was a founding member of Max Roach’s percussion ensemble, M’Boom. From the ’60s through the ’80s, he ran Studio WIS, which hosted many New York jazz musicians, such as Wadada Leo Smith and Oliver Lake. These days, he continues to perform with many top artists, as well as leading his own ensembles.

Max Colby lives and works in New York City. Through lush, detailed work, their work reframes traditional notions of domesticity, power and gender from a trans and non-binary perspective. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University in 2012. Colby has exhibited internationally including at Wave Hill, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, Jane Lombard Gallery, Isabel Croxatto Galería, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, and Museum Rijswijk, among others. She has completed residencies at the Museum of Arts and Design (New York), MASS MoCA and the Wassaic Project and received a Leslie-Lohman Museum Fellowship.

Maya Ragazzo is an interdisciplinary artist from Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art where she focused on sculpture, photography and art history. Ragazzo has built upon her digital fabrication and model making skills by working at makerspaces and custom model railroad workshops. She now builds custom lights at a design studio. Maya has spent the last two years building her painting practice out of her garage studio in Los Angeles. She enjoys working on personal projects as well as commissioned work.

Ackeem Salmon is originally from Kingston, Jamaica and now resides in Detroit. He is a multimedia artist who explores photography with traditional painting and drawing techniques. Salmon received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies with honors in Photography and Fine Art.


Along with his visual works, Salmon is also a self-taught violinist, flautist and composer whose interdisciplinary works are primarily in fine art, photography, film, performance, music and writings of critical theory. His pieces are often autobiographical and are based around postcolonial theories and the understanding of human individuality and social progress. He explores how cultural history affects people’s present-day identities and how these identities connect through human commonality and empathy.


Salmon’s work has been exhibited at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit; the Galerie Joseph, Paris; the Val de Vie estate, Cape Town; and at Sotheby’s Auction House, New York, among other prominent galleries and venues.

Salmon is currently an Art Teacher at the Western International High School in Detroit.

Director and Editor

Doug Blush
1984 Film, YoungArts Trustee



Emmet Cohen
2008 & 2009 Jazz


Russel Hall
2021 Jazz


Benny Benack III
2009 Jazz


Kyle Poole


In order of appearance:  

José Parlá
Visual Artist & Mentor  


Debbie Allen
Award Winning Director, Producer, Actor, Choreographer, Singer-Songwriter & Guest Artist


Tony Yazbeck
1997 Theater 


Grace Weber
2006 Theater, Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts 


James Allister Sprang
2008 Visual Arts


Christopher Castellani 
1990 & 1992 Writing


Rosie Gordon Wallace
Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator Founder, Curator & YoungArts Trustee


Amir Arison
Actor, Director, Producer & Guest Artist 


2011 Visual Arts 


Lance Oppenheim
2014 Film & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


The Haas Brothers
Guest Artists 


Chris Young
2003 Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts


Yusha-Marie Sorzano 
2000 Dance 


Michael McElroy
1985 Theater, Director & YoungArts Trustee


Jaie Laplante
Miami Film Festival Executive Director, Cultural Partner & Guest Artist 


Caleb Teicher
2011 Dance 


Jennifer Koh 
1994 Classical Music & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts 


Elijah Boothe
2014 Theater


Queen Esther 
1983 Theater 


Zuzanna Szadkowski
1997 Theater, U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts & YoungArts Trustee


Priscilla Aleman
2009 Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


Doug Blush 
1984 Film & YoungArts Trustee


India Carney
2011 Theater, Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts


Bill T. Jones
Artistic Director/Co-Founder of New York Live Arts, Choreographer & Guest Artist 


Shamel Pitts
2003 Dance 


Mikhail Baryshnikov
Artistic Director/Founder Baryshnikov Arts Center, Choreographer & Guest Artist  


Thank you to the many donors and supporters who have made this event possible. We are grateful for all that you do to support artists.

Sarah Arison and Thomas Wilhelm
Jay Franke and David Herro
Alberto Ibargüen, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Sandra and Tony Tamer

Jill Braufman and Daniel Nir
Tracey Corwin

Robert T. Barlick, Jr. | Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC
Adriana Cisneros and Nicholas Griffin

Steven and Oxana Marks 

Northern Trust Bank

The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation

Reed Smith

Sidney and Florence Stern Family Foundation

Oti and Remi Roberts
Tarin and Andrew Teno

Alec Batis
Paul Berkowitz | Greenberg Traurig
Hampton Carney
Meryl Comer and Philip Margolius
Natalie Diggins and Oren Michels
Robert and Cindy Friezo
Rosie Gordon-Wallace
Agnes Gund
Adriana Herrera
Ara Hovnanian
Adriana Keiser
Jill and Peter Kraus
Mark and Sharon Nash
Matt Nielson
Noah Rabinsky
Pilar and Stephen Robert
Cliff and Dorian Rosen
Sheldon and Susan Schneider
Seix Investment Advisors, LLC
Terry Soriano-Zucker and Jason Zucker
Alice and Thomas Tisch Foundation
Sue and Beau Wrigley

Thank you to the generous donors who have contributed $40,000 or more to YoungArts programming as we celebrate YoungArts’ 40th anniversary.

Micky & Madeleine Arison Family Foundation
Sarah Arison & Thomas Wilhelm
Jeffrey Davis & Michael Miller
Michi & Charles Jigarjian / 7G Foundation
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs
Northern Trust Bank
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Sidney and Florence Stern Family Foundation
Sandra & Tony Tamer
Bruce & Ellie Taub
Truist Wealth

Jill Braufman & Daniel Nir
Tracey Corwin
Natalie Diggins & Oren Michels
State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture
Agnes Gund
Hearst Foundations
Richard & Amy Kohan
Leslie & Jason Kraus
Steven & Oxana Marks

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.