Thomas Joins 710 Outstanding Teenage Artists from 44 States Across the Nation and will Receive Cash Awards, Mentorship and Professional Development Opportunities
MIAMI, FL (January 7, 2019) – Gannon Thomas of Fleming Island, Florida from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, has been named a 2019 National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) Finalist in Theatre, the organization’s highest honor. Selected from thousands of applications, Thomas has been recognized for his outstanding artistic achievements and joins 710 of the nation’s most promising young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts from 44 states. YoungArts winners gain access to one of the most comprehensive programs for emerging artists in the United States, offering financial, professional and artistic development opportunities over the course of their careers. A complete list of the 2019 winners, all 15–18 years old or in grades 10–12, is available online at youngarts.org/winners.
“On behalf of YoungArts, I want to congratulate all of the 2019 winners for their achievements at such an early stage in their careers,” said Sarah Arison, YoungArts Board Chair. “We believe that every artist should be empowered to pursue a life in the arts, and we are excited to welcome our winners to the YoungArts family. This is just the beginning and we look forward to helping provide them with the valuable opportunities and support they will need to thrive throughout their artistic journeys.”
Thomas will receive a cash prize of up to $10,000; opportunities to share his work with the public at renowned institutions such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York) and New World Center (Miami); and access to mentors including Tony Award winner Joan Lader; Grammy Award-winning percussionist Joseph Gramley; Academy Award-winning film editor Doug Blush; Obie Award-winning theater artists Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz; award-winning journalist, author and provocative cultural critic Joan Morgan; poet John Murillo; opera singers Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader; US Artist Fellow and Princess Grace award-winning choreographer Rosie Herrera; bestselling author Kristen Simmons; and award-winning photographer Lori Hepner, among many others.
“I’m extremely humbled and honored to have been given the opportunity to attend YoungArts Week in Miami and am so fortunate to work with well-renowned artists, industry leaders, and fellow finalists.” – Gannon Thomas
Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, the 2019 winners represent the top 10 percent of applications. Of this year’s 710 winners, some have been awarded for excellence in multiple disciplines at various levels. Altogether, 725 awards have been attributed: 163 have been named Finalists, the organization’s highest honor; 268 are Honorable Mentions and 294 are Merit winners.
As a Finalist, Thomas will have the opportunity to participate in the 38th annual National YoungArts Week in Miami January 6–13, 2019. The organization’s signature program, National YoungArts Week aims to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and community while offering Finalists the guidance needed to prepare for the next stage of their artistic development. During the free, weeklong intensive, artists across 10 disciplines participate in master classes and workshops with internationally recognized leaders in their fields, such as Ansin Stewart Master Teacher Gavin Creel and Florence Stern Memorial Master Teacher Wendy Whelan. Throughout the week, Thomas’ work will be further adjudicated to determine additional award levels.
Each evening during National YoungArts Week, audiences can experience the work of these artists through performances in voice, jazz, theater, dance and classical music, as well as film screenings at New World Center, writers’ readings in the YoungArts Jewel Box, and a visual arts, photography and design exhibition curated by Rosie Gordon-Wallace of Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator in the YoungArts Gallery. On January 8, 2019, Thomas will share his work with the public at New World Center as part of YoungArts week. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit youngarts.org/yaw.
Thomas is also eligible for nomination to the White House-appointed Commission on Presidential Scholars. As the sole nominating agency, YoungArts selects 60 Finalists each year, 20 of whom are invited to become U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the highest honors for a graduating high school senior.
All winners are eligible to participate in YoungArts’ regional programs, including YoungArts Miami (February 19–24, 2019), YoungArts Los Angeles (March 26–31, 2019) and YoungArts New York (April 23–28, 2019), and will join a professional network of distinguished artists.
Thomas will join a growing alumni network of more than 20,000 artists and will receive access to additional professional and artistic development, and presentation opportunities. Alumni programs include the new Up Next career development symposia in Los Angeles and New York, exhibitions curated by renowned artists such as Derrick Adams, and interdisciplinary residency programs in Miami.
YoungArts Week is supported by the YoungArts National Premier Partner Carnival Foundation; the YoungArts Week Performance Partner SunTrust; the Design Arts Discipline Partner, Arquitectonica; the Visual Arts Discipline Partner, Related Group; Jay Franke and David Herro, Sandra and Tony Tamer; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, The Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners and the Miami-Dade Tourist Development Council; Wells Fargo; The City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council; Miami Downtown Development Authority; and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.
About the National YoungArts Foundation
The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and nurture the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts, and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development. Through a wide range of annual programs, regular performances, and partnerships with some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions, YoungArts aspires to create a strong community of alumni and a platform for a lifetime of encouragement, opportunity and support.
YoungArts’ signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12 from across the United States. Selected through a blind adjudication process, YoungArts winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentors—such as Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rebecca Walker, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Carrie Mae Weems—and performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Modern Art (New York) and New World Center (Miami). Additionally, YoungArts winners are eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.
YoungArts winners become part of a thousands-strong alumni network of artists, which offers them additional professional opportunities throughout their careers. YoungArts alumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Viola Davis, Anna Gunn, Zuzanna Szadkowski and Kerry Washington; Broadway stars Raúl Esparza, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells and Tony Yazbeck; recording artists Josh Groban, Judith Hill and Chris Young; Metropolitan Opera star Eric Owens; musicians Terence Blanchard, Gerald Clayton, Jennifer Koh and Elizabeth Roe; choreographers Camille A. Brown and Desmond Richardson; visual artists Daniel Arsham and Hernan Bas; internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken; New York Times bestselling author Sam Lipsyte; and Academy Award winners Doug Blush and Tarell Alvin McCraney.
For more information, visit youngarts.org, Facebook or Twitter.
To watch a brief video about YoungArts, click here.
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