National YoungArts Week
January 4-11, 2015
Biscayne Bay, FL
Written and photographed by Anais Perez
From the moment you walk into the Marriot Hotel you are greeted by the likes of smiling YoungArts alumni exclaiming how this week will indeed be the best week of their life. I didn’t know if I could exactly believe them or not, but I walked in anyways with an open mind. Little did I know that just 5 days later I would be clinging onto my hotel mattress not wanting for this amazing week to end.
The National YoungArts Foundation awards roughly 700 talented individual 15-18 year olds for their outstanding efforts in disciplines that include (but not limited to) voice, design arts, visual arts and writing. About 300 of those talented individuals are chosen as finalists and are sent on an all-expenses paid trip to the Marriot Hotel in Biscayne Bay for a week to take master classes taught by teachers who have seen great success in their respective fields.
I was lucky enough to have landed a spot as one of twenty-five visual artists, with a panel that included Naomi Fisher, Robert Chambers and Derrick Adams. Our 7-day stay was packed to the brim with master classes, studio visits, collaborative projects and performances by other disciplines at the end of every night. Our days there were consistently overflowing with activity and the room advisors and panelists took every opportunity to not only encourage purposeful discussions, but to also offer us words of wisdom that would inspire our creative spirits.
What YoungArts did for me was that it presented a life experience unparalleled to anything I had ever previously encountered. It allowed me to network with so many like-minded individuals that take their craft seriously. Most of all this organization gave me the much-needed confidence to push my artistry forward. They made me understand wholeheartedly that a career in the arts is above all else a necessary facet of the society we live in. This kind of love and respect from people you have only ever talked to for a week is hard to find and I am glad I found that in YoungArts.
Notable YoungArts alumni include: