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Nine Upstate students recognized in national arts competition

Students stand out in national applicant pool


Each year the National YoungArts Foundation holds one of the largest student art competitions highlighting promising young artists, ages 15-18, in the literary, visual, design and performing arts from around the country.

This year, nine students from South Carolina, including two finalists, were selected as winners from an applicant pool of over 7,400 nationally.

The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities had seven students who placed, including Isaiah Boozer, theater finalist; Tyler Wesley, theater finalist; Grace Warren-Page, honorable mention for creative nonfiction; Alexa Smith, theater merit; Jaden McGuire, visual arts merit; Katherine Davis, creative nonfiction merit, and Felix Killingsworth, poetry merit.

The Fine Arts Center in Greenville also had two students who placed, including Thomas Hicks, honorable mention for photography, and Philip Rawlinson, classical music merit in viola.

“YoungArts empowers artists to pursue a life in the arts beginning at the critical time when many are faced with decisions about life after high school,” said Executive Director Jewel Malone. “This group of extraordinary artists has reminded us yet again that extraordinary artistry is ageless, and I encourage everyone to get to know these faces and names as we will be seeing them for many years to come.”

YoungArts award winners at the finalist level were invited to participate in National YoungArts Week + held earlier this month featuring virtual classes, workshops and mentorship from internationally renowned artists. A virtual showcase featuring these finalists will be held Jan. 25-30. For the full schedule, visit https://www.youngarts.org/national-youngarts-week.

Finalists are also eligible to be nominated to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the highest honors given high school seniors bestowed by the President of the United States.

This year, YoungArts award winners at all levels will receive cash prizes between $100 and $10,000 and the opportunity to learn from leading artists such as Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Frank Gehry, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Mickalene Thomas. YoungArts winners also become part of an alumni network of over 20,000 artists, which offers them additional professional opportunities throughout their careers.


About The National YoungArts Foundation

The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and nurture the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts, and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development. Through a wide range of annual programs, regular performances, and partnerships with some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions, YoungArts aspires to create a strong community of alumni and a platform for a lifetime of encouragement, opportunity and support.

YoungArts’ signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15-18 or in grades 10-12 from across the U.S. Selected through a blind adjudication process, YoungArts winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentors-such as Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rebecca Walker, Plácido Domingo, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Carrie Mae Weems-and performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and New World Center. Additionally, YoungArts Winners are eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.

YoungArts winners become part of a thousands-strong alumni network of artists, which offers them additional professional opportunities throughout their careers. YoungArts alumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Viola Davis, Anna Gunn, Zuzanna Szadkowski and Kerry Washington; Broadway stars Raúl Esparza, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells and Tony Yazbeck; recording artists Josh Groban, Judith Hill and Chris Young; Metropolitan Opera star Eric Owens; musicians Terence Blanchard, Gerald Clayton, Jennifer Koh and Elizabeth Roe; choreographers Camille A. Brown and Desmond Richardson; visual artists Daniel Arsham and Hernan Bas; internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken; New York Times bestselling author Sam Lipsyte; and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush. Carnival Foundation is the YoungArts National Premier Sponsor. For more information, visit youngarts.org, facebook.com/YoungArtsFoundation or twitter.com/YoungArts.


About S.C. Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities

Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. As a public, residential high school, serving juniors and seniors, students refine their talents in a master-apprentice community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students. SCGSAH also serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools.


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