Now through October 16, high school students aged 15-18 (or in grades 10-12) can apply for the 2021 National YoungArts Competition. Spanning a wide range of art forms from photography to writing to dance, the competition recognizes emerging young artists and their accomplishments. Awarded artists receive cash prizes up to $10,000 and opportunities to work closely with mentors such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and Debbie Allen through a combination of online and in-person programs. Finalists get the opportunity to participate in the National Young Arts Week intensive program, and are eligible for nomination to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Past dance awardees include celebrated choreographer Camille A. Brown and Desmond Richardson, co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
Submissions are selected through a blind judging process, and are evaluated by an independent panel. Applicants must pay a non-refundable $35 submission fee and provide the required audition and portfolio materials via the competition's Acceptd application program.
While this year's competition requires some shifting to online programming in light of COVID-19, chair of the YoungArts board of trustees Sarah Arison reiterates the importance of supporting young artists during this time. "We are aware of how keenly the world needs what artists can provide, today and tomorrow," she says. "For this reason, as we look ahead to 2021, we are expanding our network of support to better serve past, present and future YoungArts award winners."