National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Overview
Programs: YoungArts is the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts
(NFAA). The program’s mission is to identify emerging artists, provide educational
enrichment and assistance in their pursuit of the arts, and to raise the appreciation for
and support of the arts in American society. In 2011, NFAA celebrates its 30th anniversary
year of discovering excellence in the arts.
Dedicated to inspiring and nurturing young artists, NFAA was founded in 1981 by
businessman and visionary, the late Ted Arison, and his wife Lin. The YoungArts program
identifies the next generation of emerging artists and contributes to the cultural vitality of
the nation by investing in the artistic development of thousands of gifted artists in nine disciplines
in the visual, literary and performing arts. The YoungArts program is open to high
school seniors and other 17-18-year-old artists. Finalists share in an awards package valued
up to $900,000, including $500,000 in monetary awards. In addition, all YoungArts applicants
are eligible for $3 million in scholarship opportunities from leading universities and
colleges through automatic placement on the YoungArts Scholarship List Service.
At the request of The Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by
the President of the United States, NFAA serves as the exclusive nominating agency for
the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. NFAA selects up to 60 YoungArts finalists
annually as nominees. The Commission ultimately names up to 20 U.S. Presidential
Scholars in the Arts who are honored by the White House each June. The celebration
honoring the 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts includes a special exhibition
featuring works at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and performances at the John
F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The YoungArts program has honored over 16,000 young artists with more than $6
million in monetary awards and nearly $84 million in college scholarship opportunities.
Alumni go on to become leading professionals in their fields. Alumni include Emmynominated
actress Vanessa Williams, four-time Tony® Award nominee Raúl Esparza, star
of HBO’s Entourage Adrian Grenier, Warner Brothers recording artist Josh Groban,
Executive Director of the American Ballet Theatre Rachel Moore, actress Kerry
Washington and internationally-acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken.
YoungArts uses an array of social media sites to connect with visitors; follow YoungArts
on Facebook (facebook.com/YoungArtsNFAA), Flickr (flickr.com/people/youngarts),
Twitter (twitter.com/youngarts), and YouTube (youtube.com/user/youngarts1); and
read the latest blog posts on www.youngarts.org.
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