Justin Holden, Polskin Arts & Communications Counselors
TWENTY NATIONAL YOUNGARTS FOUNDATION WINNERS
50th Anniversary of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program
U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts will present their work to the public through an exhibition at The Smithsonian Institution and a performance directed by Tony-Award winning choreographer and YoungArts Artistic Advisor Bill T. Jones at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
MIAMI, FL (May 5, 2014) –The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) congratulates the 50th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars, announced today by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The 20 Scholars in the Arts, all 2014 YoungArts Winners, were nominated to The White House Commission on Presidential Scholars by YoungArts, and selected based on academic, civic and artistic achievement. The award, presented on behalf of the President of the United States, is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an artistically talented graduating high school senior. Each year, up to 141 high school seniors are recognized as U.S. Presidential Scholars for their accomplishments.
“The National YoungArts Foundation is proud to honor and celebrate the 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars and the 50th Anniversary of this remarkable program,” said Paul T. Lehr, President & CEO of the National YoungArts Foundation. “YoungArts has a long and rich history with this high honor, and our role as the sole nominating organization for the art awards is a cherished responsibility.”
The 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts represent 12 states from across the country, and are filmmakers, dancers, photographers, classical and jazz musicians, actors, visual artists, singers and writers. They join an illustrious group which includes Tony Award-nominated dancer and choreographer Desmond Richardson, American Ballet Theatre Chief Executive Officer Rachel Moore, novelist and National Book Award Finalist Allegra Goodman, Grammy Award-nominated violinist Jennifer Koh, BRAVO’s “Work of Art” winner Abdi Farah, OBIE Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin, and recording artist Chris Young.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “The extraordinary young men and women being honored for the 50th anniversary of the Presidential Scholars have excelled in their educational, artistic and civic pursuits. They show all of us that when students challenge themselves and commit themselves to excellence, the results can be astounding. These scholars will help move our country forward and will have a lasting impact on their families, communities, and on our society. They represent the potential of all young citizens to lift up America.”
During the National Recognition Program on Sunday, June 22, all Scholars will be honored at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. and presented with a Presidential Scholar Medallion.
On Monday, June 23 at 8pm, the Scholars in the Arts specializing in dance, jazz, theater, music, and voice will participate in “A Salute to the U.S. Presidential Scholars,” a free public performance that celebrates all of the awardees directed by Tony Award-winner, dancer, choreographer and YoungArts Artistic Advisor Bill T. Jones at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Concert Hall. The performance will be streamed live on PBS’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pbs) and YoungArts’ website (www.youngarts.org).
On Tuesday, June 24 at 7:30pm an exhibition of the work of the visual artists, writers and cinematic arts scholars will open at The Smithsonian Institution, S. Dillon Ripley Center and will remain on view through August 7.
The 2014 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are:
Performance at the Kennedy Center will be streamed live on PBS’ Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pbs) and YoungArts’ website (www.youngarts.org).
General public tickets can be picked up at the U.S. Presidential Scholars Will Call table in front of the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Monday, June 23, starting at 6:45 p.m. Tickets not picked up by 7:45 p.m. will be released on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm / An Exhibition of Works
YoungArts Winners demonstrating excellence in the visual, literary, performing or design arts are selected annually through a blind adjudication process. From this pool, approximately 170 Finalists from across the nation are invited to National YoungArts Week in Miami each January, where winners participate in a week of intensive master classes and workshops with internationally renowned artists, and have the opportunity to share their work in performances, readings, exhibitions and screenings that are open to the public. During National YoungArts Week and YoungArts’ regional programs, eligible students are further evaluated, award levels are determined, and nominations are made for that year’s U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
If students have any questions, they can reach programming staff at (305) 377-1140 or [email protected].
ABOUT U.S. PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARS
Scholars are selected annually by the United States Department of Education and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, appointed by the President, based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership, and demonstrated commitment to high ideals. This year, more than 3,900 candidates qualified for the 2014 program determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, and through nominations made by Chief State School Officers or the National YoungArts Foundation.
The 2014 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 and 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
To be selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, candidates must be a senior in high school, and participate in and receive a nomination from the National YoungArts Foundation. Each year, YoungArts receives more than 11,000 applications. After a rigorous adjudication process, YoungArts nominates 60 awardees for further consideration to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. Finally, the Commission on Presidential Scholars select up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year.
To date, YoungArts has honored more than 20,000 young artists with over $6 million in monetary awards; facilitated in excess of $150 million in college scholarship opportunities; and enabled its participants to work with master teachers who are among the most distinguished artists in the world, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Frank Gehry, Denyce Graves, Bill T. Jones, Quincy Jones, Joan Lader, Rosie Perez, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner, and Rebecca Walker.
YoungArts alumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Vanessa Williams, Viola Davis, and Kerry Washington; actor, musician, and filmmaker Adrian Grenier; four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza; Chief Executive Officer of American Ballet Theatre Rachel Moore; recording artists Nicki Minaj and Chris Young; musicians Terence Blanchard, Eric Owens, and Jennifer Koh; choreographer Desmond Richardson; visual artist Hernan Bas; and internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken.
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