National YoungArts Foundation Celebrates 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars In The Arts
The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) congratulates the 55th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, with special acknowledgement to the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts who are YoungArts winners. The U.S. Presidential Scholars award one of the nation's highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic excellence is presented on behalf of the President of the United States and honors up to 161 graduating high school seniors of high potential each year.
The U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts (full list below) were nominated by YoungArts to The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and selected based on academic and artistic excellence, leadership qualities and community service. For students who would like to be considered for this outstanding honor in the future, the YoungArts application opens on June 4, 2019 at youngarts.org/apply.
I want to congratulate this year's class of Presidential Scholars on their achievement both inside of the classroom and out, said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Their hard work and commitment to excellence, no matter what challenge they are tackling, will serve them well throughout their lifelong learning journeys. I have no doubt that many of tomorrow's leaders are among this year's class of Scholars.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program and the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. In honor of the anniversaries, a three-day celebration of the Scholars' Alumni community featuring a special public symposium will be held in Washington, D.C., in June just before the public performance and exhibition by current winners. The 2019 Presidential Scholars Foundation Celebration will also be held in June to honor three Presidential Scholar Alumni dancer Desmond Richardson (1986 YoungArts Winner in Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), climate scientist Dr. Richard Alley (1976 U.S. Presidential Scholar) and hematologist Dr. Katherine High (1968 U.S. Presidential Scholar) with the Roosevelt Thompson Award and philanthropist Lin Arison, founder of YoungArts, with the Dr. Felice Kaufmann Award from the Presidential Scholars Foundation and Alumni Association.
Sarah Arison, chair of the National YoungArts Foundation Board of Trustees, said, Every year YoungArts is grateful for the singular honor of nominating our winners to become U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. This year, the 40th anniversary of the award is especially meaningful to me because my grandmother, Lin Arison, who founded YoungArts to encourage emerging talents, is also being recognized. We congratulate all of the winners and look forward to continuing to offer our support throughout their artistic journeys.
National Recognition Program at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
From June 23-25, the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts will join the other 141 U.S. Presidential Scholars from across the country in Washington, D.C., for the annual National Recognition Program, during which all Scholars receive a Presidential Medallion presented on behalf of the President of the United States. On June 24, the Arts Scholars will present their work to the public at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts through a special performance, A Salute to the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars," at 8 p.m. in Concert Hall. The free multidisciplinary performance will celebrate all of this year's awardees and will be directed by award-winning choreographer, performer and YoungArts master teacher John Heginbotham. Starting that evening, an exhibition of works created by the recognized photographers, visual artists and writers will also be on view in the Hall of Nations until July 6.
It is a sincere joy to work with the young artists of this program. What is so clear from meeting them, listening to them, and collaborating with them is that they truly are strong voices guiding us all into the future of the American arts, said John Heginbotham. My heartfelt thanks to the National YoungArts Foundation, the Commission on Presidential Scholars, and the U.S. Department of Education for their support of these accomplished and inspiring individuals. For there to be productive, interesting, vibrant growth in any direction, we as the receivers of art need to be moved from the inside. These artists have taken on the beautiful, challenging and worthy responsibility of inviting us to be moved. I'm so honored to be a part of celebrating and acknowledging them and their achievements.
Alumni Anniversary Symposium
>From June 21-23, a special anniversary symposium for 1964 2018 Scholars and friends, New Perspectives for Our Times: The Transformative Power of Artists, will feature presentations by Presidential Scholars from the last five decades, including keynote speaker Jane R. Rigby (1996 U.S. Presidential Scholar), a civil servant astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Kim Barker (1988 U.S. Presidential Scholar), a reporter on the investigations team at The New York Times; Rachel S. Moore, Los Angeles Music Center President (1982 Winner in Dance & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts); U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson (1971 U.S. Presidential Scholar); artists Lee Heinemann (2011 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), Jean Shin (1990 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts), and Nadia Wolff (2016 YoungArts Winner in Design Arts and Visual Arts & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts); and more. The symposium will offer participants the opportunity to network and learn from like-minded individuals. For more information, visit presidentialscholars.org.
Becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts
The first step to becoming a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts is to apply to the National YoungArts Foundation's annual competition. Applicants must be between the ages of 15 18 or in high school grades 10 12. To be further considered for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar by the organization, applicants must be high school seniors and meet all of the U.S. Presidential Scholars requirements.
YoungArts winners demonstrating excellence in the visual, literary, design or performing arts are selected annually through a blind adjudication process. This year, YoungArts received approximately 8,000 applications and, from this pool, 710 YoungArts winners were selected. In January, approximately 163 Finalists from across the nation were invited to National YoungArts Week in Miami, where they participated in intensive master classes and workshops with internationally renowned artists and shared their work through public performances, readings, exhibitions and screenings.
During National YoungArts Week, eligible participants are further evaluated, award levels are determined, and nominations are made for that year's U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts candidates. After a rigorous selection process, YoungArts nominates 60 candidates for an invitation to apply to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Finally, the Commission on Presidential Scholars selects 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year.
ABOUT U.S. PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS
In 1964, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established by executive order of President Lyndon B. Johnson to recognize and honor the nation's top graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrated talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields.
Scholars are selected annually by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the President, based on academic achievement, personal characteristics, leadership and service activities, and writing ability. This year, more than 5,000 candidates qualified for the 2019 program determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, through nominations made by Chief State School Officers, partner recognition organizations or the National YoungArts Foundation.
Since its inception, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program has honored more than 7,500 of the nation's high-performing students. During the National Recognition Program, scholars are brought to D.C. to receive a Presidential Medallion, which is given to each honoree during the annual ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The 161 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one young man and one young woman from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from U.S. families living abroad, as well as 15 chosen at-large, up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education.
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, 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 United States. 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, Frank Gehry, Wynton Marsalis, Jos Parl , Salman Rushdie, Jeanine Tesori and Mickalene Thomas and performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the nation's leading cultural institutions, including The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Modern Art (New York) and New World Center (Miami). 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 Ra l 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 winners Doug Blush and Tarell Alvin McCraney.
For more information, visit youngarts.org.