Lincoln Park students selected as YoungArts winners

The students join 757 outstanding teenage artists from 47 states across the nation and will receive cash awards, mentorship and professional development opportunities

Two Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School students have been chosen from a pool of nearly 8,000 applicants as winners by the 2018 National YoungArts Foundation.

Amanda Gross was recognized as a YoungArts finalist in Musical Theater and Jordyn Walker received an honorable mention in Musical Theater for their outstanding artistic achievements.

Amanda and Jordyn, both musical theater majors, were selected from more than 7,600 applicants — the most competitive pool of applications to date — to join 757 of the nation’s most promising young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts from 47 states.

YoungArts says its 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.

“I am very excited for Amanda and Jordyn to have this opportunity,” said Sharon Schaller, a Musical Theatre instructor for the charter school. “This honor is not only recognizing their talent — which is huge — but it is also rewarding them for their hard work and dedication to always training and striving to get better.  I am very proud of them both.”

As part of the YoungArts application, students are asked to list the name of the teacher who most impacted their development and learning as an artist.  Both students listed Sharon Schaller as this teacher. 

Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, the 2018 winners represent the top 10 percent of applications. Of this year’s 757 winners, some have been awarded for excellence in multiple disciplines at various levels. Altogether, 781 awards have been attributed: 171 have been named finalists, the organization’s highest honor; 270 are honorable mentions and 340 are merit winners.

According to YoungArts, all winners are eligible to participate in YoungArts’ regional programs, including YoungArts Miami (February 20–25, 2018), YoungArts Los Angeles (March 24–March 29, 2018) and YoungArts New York (April 24–29, 2018), and will join a professional network of distinguished artists. This year’s Finalists have the opportunity to participate in the 37th annual National YoungArts Week in Miami January 714, 2018.

Finalists are 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 selected to become U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the highest honors for a graduating high school senior, according to the foundation.

The 2018 winners will receive cash prizes of up to $10,000. They also will be given opportunities to share their work with the public at renowned institutions such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Sotheby’s in New York and New World Center in Miami. Additionally, they will have access to mentors, including Academy Award-winning director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer Doug Blush; award-winning photographer Corinne May Botz; three-time New York Dance and Performance Awardee Nora Chipaumire; award-winning visual artist Teresita Fernández; Grammy-award winning vocalist and songwriter Lisa Fischerbest-selling authors Michael Grunwald and Kristen Simmonsacclaimed violinist Corin Lee; award-winning

journalist, author, and provocative cultural critic Joan Morgan; American stage and television actress Karen Olivo; critically acclaimed pianist Elizabeth Joy Roemulti-Grammy nominated artist Patrice Rushen; and nine-time Grammy winner and a 17-time Grammy nominee Janis Siegel, among many others.

“YoungArts congratulates all of the 2018 winners. This extraordinary group of young artists represents the vibrancy of our culture for years to come and we look forward to supporting and encouraging them at key junctures in their careers,” said Carolina García Jayaram, YoungArts President and CEO. “I applaud all of our extraordinary panelists in making this year’s selection, one of the most competitive in YoungArts’ history.”

Since 1980, the National YoungArts Foundation has partnered with educators, after-school, summer, and community arts programs to seek out, identify and recognize emerging outstanding young artistic talent.  

A complete list of the 2018 winners, all 15–18 years old or in grades 10–12, is available online at youngarts.org/winners.