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YoungArts Increases Arts Education and Awareness

USA - Miami , FL | Jan 9 2013 | (22:47:33 - EDT)

As the latest initiative of National YoungArts Foundation’s (YoungArts) ongoing work to help increase arts education and awareness, YoungArts has begun distributing copies of Pursuing Your Passion: Lessons from YoungArts MasterClass, a study guide booklet and 2-DVD set, free of charge to middle and high schools nationwide.

Developed in conjunction with Columbia University’s Teachers College, the study guide and DVD set is based on the award winning HBO YoungArts MasterClass series in which masters teach and mentor young artists. This educational tool, as well as sample lesson plans, recommended classroom activities, and full episodes of YoungArts MasterClass are also available free of charge to schools and teachers nationwide as a download from the Teachers College’s EdLab website at

To support the implementation of the study guide and DVD set in classrooms, free professional development opportunities are being offered to teachers in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. The training sessions, which will be led by Teachers College faculty, will take place on October 20 in New York City, October 24 and 25 in Los Angeles, and November 6 in Miami. Participating teachers will receive professional development credits.

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“For more than 30 years we have been providing young artists with mentorship experiences with some of the most distinguished artists in the world, and the support these students need to follow their passion and pursue careers in the arts. We are proud to be able to use our work to inspire the teaching of critical thinking skills, and to foster an appreciation of the vital role creativity plays in every aspect of our lives,” said Paul T. Lehr, Executive Director of YoungArts.

“We wanted to provide students with an interdisciplinary experience in an authentic way -- to present concepts such as ‘mastery,’ for example, which holds true across all disciplines,” said Professor Hal Abeles, Chair of Columbia University’s Teachers College Department of Arts and Humanities.

“The study guide fosters critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication – skills which the 21st Century Partnership identified as critical for success in the 21st century.”??Pursuing Your Passion: Lessons from YoungArts MasterClass was created as a resource to assist teachers in bringing arts examples into their classroom activities and discussions, while they address 21st century critical thinking skills and Common Core State Standards. The study guide was crafted to support the exploration of creativity, mastery, and collaboration in humanities, language arts, math, science, and social studies classrooms. Questions such as “What makes someone a master?” or “How can successes and failures be used as valuable learning tools in the development of mastery?” guide classroom discussion around the YoungArts MasterClass episodes.

To date, YoungArts has honored more than 16,000 young artists with over $6 million in monetary awards; facilitated in excess of $100 million in college scholarship opportunities; and enabled its participants to work with master teachers who are among the most distinguished artists in the world, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d'Amboise, Plácido Domingo, Bill T. Jones, Quincy Jones and Martin Scorsese. In addition, at the request of the Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts serves as the exclusive nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the country's highest honor for artistically talented high school seniors.  

In early October 2012, YoungArts acquired the historic Bacardi buildings in Miami and began converting the organization’s first national headquarters into a campus that will become a thriving arts and cultural center for young artists ages 15 and up, and allow YoungArts to carry forward an expansion of activities unprecedented in its history. In order to help with its expansion, YoungArts has named Frank Gehry, Plácido Domingo and Bill T. Jones as Artistic Advisors.

As part of this initiative, the organization will produce events year-round in New York City, including performances programmed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, master classes and screenings at The Museum of Modern Art, and performances at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In Los Angeles, YoungArts will inaugurate a new program, providing young artists with master classes, workshops, performances and exhibitions.

The new YoungArts campus will host year-round programming in Miami, including master classes and forums, interdisciplinary performances and exhibitions, screenings of the Emmy-nominated HBO YoungArts MasterClass series, and an art gallery offering exhibitions with free admission, curated in partnership with Miami Art Museum.??YoungArts alumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Vanessa Williams, Viola Davis, and Kerry Washington; four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza; Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre Rachel Moore; recording artists Nicki Minaj and Chris Young; musicians Terence Blanchard, Eric Owens, and Jennifer Koh; choreographer Desmond Richardson; and internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken.

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