YoungArts Week celebrates emerging artistic talent from across the U.S.

Arts / Article

South Floridians can experience the work of 171 emerging U.S. artists this week as the National YoungArts Foundation celebrates their talents.

The artists from 46 states are converging on Miami for YoungArts Week, an annual opportunity to perform and work alongside leading experts in a range of fields, such as jazz pianist Shelly Berg, architect Frank Gehry, actress Rita Moreno and Miami City Ballet Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez.

The finalists include 15- to 18-year-olds who work in 10 disciplines including cinematic arts; classical music; dance; design arts, which includes architecture, graphic arts and fashion; jazz music; photography; theater; visual arts; voice, which includes classical, jazz and pop music; and writing.

National YoungArts Foundation spokeswoman Mabel Perez said YoungArts Week is the signature program of the foundation, which also sponsors regional programs in Los Angeles, Miami and New York. The foundation, founded 33 years ago by philanthropists Ted and Lin Arinson, is a previous winner of Knight Arts Challenge Miami to develop local programming.

Events begin Monday night with performances by pop, jazz and classical voice finalists at New World Center in Miami Beach. They conclude with a presentation and discussion on Sunday at the YoungArts Campus on “Design Now + Design Futures,” with Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, architect Zaha Hadid and Gehry. The finalists will receive a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of $10,000; the foundation will determine the awards at the end of the week, Perez said.

Sixty of the YoungArts finalists will be nominated to become U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, Perez said, with 20 receiving the award from the White House in June. They will have the chance to exhibit their work at the Smithsonian American Art Museum or to perform at the John. F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The National YoungArts Foundation occupies the former Bacardi Tower and Museum complex at 2100 Biscayne Blvd. The buildings are being renovated according to a master plan by Gehry. Perez said some of the work has been completed and will give the foundation a chance to show off some areas of its headquarters, including gallery spaces on the first and second floors, where finalists will exhibit their work this week, and a seventh floor lounge where a jazz combo of finalists will perform with Miami jazz vocalist Nicole Yarling on Friday night.

“This is our moment of disruption,” Perez said, adding that most of the major renovations are complete on the historic campus, while finish and detail work continues.

The foundation moved to the Bacardi campus in 2012 and will also hold its gala at the complex for the first time. The Saturday event will honor acting legend Moreno and top architect Hadid with the Arison Award for their contributions to their fields. Actor Andrew Rannells, a 1997 YoungArts theater winner, will receive the Alumni Award. Rannells’ credits include movies, television and theater, including “The Book of Mormon.”

Visit the website of the National YoungArts Foundation for a complete list of finalists and events.

Michael D. Bolden, editorial director of Knight Foundation