John Christopher Wright of North Charleston, SC from the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities has been named a 2020 National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) Finalist in VISUAL ARTS, the organization’s highest honor. Wright has been recognized for his artistic achievement and joins 686 of the nation’s most accomplished artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts. Wright was selected by an esteemed discipline-specific panel of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process. This year’s award winners represent the top 9.5% of applications across ten artistic disciplines. YoungArts award winners gain access to one of the most prestigious programs for emerging artists in the United States in which they will have opportunities for creative and professional development throughout their entire careers. A complete list of the 2020 winners, all 15–18 years old or in grades 10–12, is available online at youngarts.org/winners.
“Every year I am reminded that extraordinary artistry is ageless and the 2020 YoungArts award winners—all teenage artists—have done it again. This group of emerging talent represents the inspiring potential of the next generation of artists. We look forward to welcoming them to the YoungArts community of leading artists and are thrilled to support their work from this early stage and throughout their careers,” stated Board Chair Sarah Arison.
Wright will receive a cash prize of up to $10,000 and will participate in National YoungArts Week (January 5—12, 2020), the organization’s signature program providing artists with an intensive, weeklong and all-inclusive program featuring masterclasses, workshops, and mentorship from leading artists in their fields. At National YoungArts Week, Wright will have the opportunity to learn from 2020 master teachers, including MacArthur “Genius” Claire Chase (1996 YoungArts Winner in Classical Music & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts); Grammy-nominated Jazz vocalist René Marie; The New York Times Best Selling author Joan Morgan; Tony nominated actress Michele Shay; photographer, curator and educator Endia Beal; and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush (1984 YoungArts Winner in Film). On Friday, January 10, 2020, Wright will share his work with the public at National YoungArts Foundation, 2100 Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33137 as part of the Design, Photography & Visual Arts Exhibition during the National YoungArts Week. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit youngarts.org/yaw.
As a Finalist, Wright will be eligible to be nominated to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the highest honors given to high school seniors bestowed by the President of the United States. 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 in the Arts.
Wright is also eligible to participate in one of the organization’s regional programs YoungArts Miami (February 25–March 1, 2020), YoungArts Los Angeles (March 24–29, 2020) and YoungArts New York (April 21–26, 2020), each modeled after National YoungArts Week.
On July 1, 2020, Wright will join a 20,000-strong YoungArts alumni community and will receive ongoing support from the organization as they continue to pursue a life in the arts. YoungArts award winners are eligible for exclusive opportunities such as fellowships, symposia and residencies in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and abroad; presentation opportunities at major institutions such as Jacob’s Pillow (Massachusetts), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), New World Center (Miami), Sotheby’s (New York), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (Los Angeles) and the Watermill Center (New York); and the opportunity to work with directors and curators such as Derrick Adams, Deana Haggag, Bill T. Jones, Jasmine Wahi and Tony Yazbeck. They will also have access to YoungArts Post, a custom online platform for YoungArts alumni to connect, collaborate and learn about additional opportunities such as microgrants, cash awards that support expenses related to professional or artistic development.