Making the commitment to be an artist at a young age can be a life altering decision. While art has scientifically been identified to be one of the most vital elements in our world, an artist's existence is not always an easy one and there are certainly no guarantees.
Being in the right place at the right time, having that one conversation, meeting that one particular person or making an impression, that you didn't even know you made, has propelled many a career to stardom or, at least, to become a game changer in a chosen artistic field.
Enter YoungArts, the organization that identifies accomplished young artists and puts them in the right place at the right time. YoungArts promotes the conversation, connects the individuals and best of all, offers artists support and development opportunities throughout their careers.
This is initially manifested in National YoungArts Week in January. To be a part of National YoungArts Week, 15 to 18 year olds must first apply and be selected to participate. A juried panel of specialists within their respective fields go through over 7,000 applications and multiple rounds of evaluation to identify artists who qualify at the Finalist level and who will come to Miami for National YoungArts Week starting Tuesday, Feb. 25.
The next opportunity for the 2020 YoungArts Winners is the first of three regional programs for the year. YoungArts Miami 2020 will take place Feb. 25 through March 1. Eighty emerging artists from 12 states will participate in public performances, a film screening, an art exhibition and writers' readings.
In 2020, there were 153 artists who were chosen in the ten categories of Classical Music, Dance, Design Arts, Film, Jazz, Photography, Theater, Visual Arts, Voice and Writing. The week is also where students will be identified who will be nominated to be Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.
National YoungArts Week offers finalists the ability to take master classes with leaders in their field, performance and showcase opportunities, collaboration and networking with colleagues and students of other disciplines, cash awards, and a lifetime of support. One of the most impactful takeaways is the validation and endorsement that says, "yes, you can."
A Look at the First Performances Of YoungArts Week
Attending the first performance of National YoungArts Week that spanned Sunday, Jan. 5 through Sunday, Jan. 11, was a taste of what was to come throughout the week. This was the Classical, Pop and Jazz Voice and Singer-Songwriter Performance presented on Monday, the first full day of National YoungArts Week.
From the operatic voices of Ronell Warmuth, singing in strong and clear German, Madison Perry's assurance and carriage, the excitement of Pablo Rubin-Jurado, confident in his tenor voice, to the sultry voice of Sarah Grace Kimberly, Ethan Danto, with his guitar and the colorful, seasoned performance of Sage McNeely, the talent, maturity and ability on the stage made one forget that these are very young people with careers yet to be discovered.
Tuesday saw the dancers rehearsing at the Miami City Ballet studios. This was an opportunity to see them in the studio and to watch them be coached by masters in their dance genre. One studio contained ballet dancers, one had added a wooden floor for tap dancers, there was hip-hop going on upstairs and the hallway held numerous contemporary dancers, who were each going over their steps as they waited their turn. It was a very active environment, not to mention that Miami City Ballet was using the largest studio to prepare for their up-coming program of "I'm Old Fashioned."
Lindy Mesmer and Alina Taratorin from California and Tyrone Reese from Alabama, all ballet dancers, gave their first impressions of what had transpired in the single day since their initial arrival.
"It's really inspiring more than anything," said Reese. "There are such great artists here. It's really warming to see all of us loving the same thing and working together."
Mesmer said: "I've never really talked with artists outside of dance, so getting to talk to designers and musicians about their own art and feeling their passion. I love that YoungArts brings all the arts together. That's how it should be."
Taratorin added, "Even though we have our own disciplinary classes, we get to watch each other in all dance genres. We even got to watch classes with film makers. I think everyone is going to leave here really inspired and will want to fuse their art forms with other disciplines."
Andre Imanishi is learning about the different disciplines and ‘all things art consists of and what kind of art is out there.' He is a tap dancer from New York. When he was about four, Andre saw a street performance of a saxophone player and a tap dancer and has dreamt of being a tap dancer ever since. This week is showing him how tap fits into the larger picture and how every art form is affected by each other.
In another studio, tap dancer, Lucas Marinetto, is working with Miami Beach native and coach, Marshall Davis Jr. as the other tappers look on.
Davis says, "When you do that step, what are you saying? What does it mean?" He taps his heart. "You've got to know the words, what are they saying."
Along with evening performances, there are design, photography and visual arts exhibits, and writers' readings on the YoungArts Campus. There are master classes for each discipline going on throughout the day. The experience is intensely full, and intensely rich.
YoungArts Miami 2020 will take place Feb. 25 through March 1. 80 emerging artists from 12 states will participate in public performances, a film screening, an art exhibition and writers' readings. Complete schedule at http://www.youngarts.org, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Activities will take place at:
- The YoungArts Campus, 2100 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL.
- The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26 St. Miami, FL.
- Miami Theater Center, 9806 NE 2nd Ave. Miami Shores, FL.