NFAA brings top teen artists to Miami this week

Think of it as an upscale, more cultured version of American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance? rolled into one live, weeklong event. Beginning Monday, South Florida audiences will be able to take in free performances and exhibits by some of the most talented young people in the United States as part of the 31st annual YoungArts Week.

The main event of the Miami-based National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, YoungArts brings 150 teenage artists, selected from more than 5,000 applicants, to Miami for a week of presentations, shows and workshops with master teachers who this year include choreographer Bill T. Jones, dancer Jacques D’Amboise, poet Campbell McGrath and film legend Robert Redford.

Twenty of the teens will be named U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, and others will win scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. For the 17- and 18-year-old dancers, actors, singers, jazz and classical musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, writers and photographers, YoungArts can be a transformative experience.

The NFAA was founded in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison, owner of Carnival Cruise Lines, to feed their passion for culture and build the arts in Miami, largely by encouraging young artists.

“Both of us got turned on by young people and by art. And that’s what Miami needed,” says Lin Arison, whose husband died in 1999. In 1987 the couple launched the New World Symphony, another institution for training young artists.

Several of the showcases will be held at the symphony’s New World Center. They include a voice and jazz performance Monday, dance and cinematic arts showcases Wednesday, and a chamber music concert Friday. A theater showcase is Tuesday at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. Thursday features readings by young writers and a visual art and photography exhibit at the Miami Art Museum as well as a jazz concert at the Van Dyke Café on Lincoln Road.

The week culminates in an alumni showcase Saturday at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami, followed by a gala fundraising dinner that draws a who’s who of Miami arts supporters and a roster of famous honorees. This year they include Redford, who will receive the Arison Award; visual artist Doug Aiken, who will receive the Alumni Award; and Robert L. Lynch, president of the national advocacy organization Americans for the Arts and recipient of the YoungArts Leadership Award.


Source:  Miami Herald