YoungArts Foundation recognizes alumna and two high school seniors
A high school alumna and two high school seniors have been recognized for artistic achievement by the National YoungArts Foundation. They are among 686 students nationwide who have been named finalist, honorable mention and merit award winners in the visual, literary and performing arts competition.
Finalists from UNCSA are Amira Oguntoyinbo from Hillsborough, a 2019 graduate of the Visual Arts program, who entered the photography competition, and Aron Stornaiuolo, a composition major from Charlotte who entered in the voice/jazz category. Oguntoyinbo is taking a gap year before enrolling at Bowdoin College in fall 2020. Stornaiuolo studies with Lawrence Dillon in the School of Music, and also performs as a guitarist with the award-winning UNCSA Jazz Ensemble.
As finalists, Oguntoyinbo and Stornaiuolo are eligible to attend YoungArts Week Jan. 5-12 in Miami, a weeklong intensive offering master classes and workshops with internationally renowned leaders in the arts, who have included Mikhail Baryshnikov, Sarah Brightman, Plácido Domingo, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Gehry, Rebecca Walker and Carrie Mae Weems. During YoungArts Week, finalists are adjudicated for awards up to $10,000. They also share their work with the public through performances, readings, exhibitions and screenings.
Finalists may also be nominated to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the highest honors given to high school seniors. As the sole nominating agency, every year YoungArts nominates 60 artists to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. The Commission then selects the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars.
YoungArts award winners gain access to one of the most prestigious programs for emerging artists in the United States, providing opportunities for creative and professional development throughout their careers.
YoungArts alumni include renowned artists including UNCSA alumni Camille A. Brown, a graduate of the School of Dance, and Hunter Schafer, a graduate of the Visual Arts program who was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Other YoungArts alumni include dancer Desmond Richardson, who spoke at High School Commencement in 2019; actress and producer Viola Davis; and singer, songwriter and record producer Josh Groban.
The YoungArts Foundation was established in 1981 to identify and support artists ages 15–18 or in grades 10–12 from across the United States. YoungArts also aspires to empower artists to pursue a life in the arts.