On Wednesday evening, thirty-seven wide-eyed, exceptionally talented high school seniors participated in an exhibition of the YoungArts In the Studio event at Baryshnikov Arts Center. YoungArts, the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, supports seventeen to eighteen-year-old emerging visual, literary, and performing artists throughout the US. The YoungArts gold and silver winners, chosen from a pool of up to 7,000 students, arrived in New York several days ago to begin In the Studio Week, which includes master classes with leading artists, workshops, performances, and an exhibition.
The inspiring program, which the students put together in just three days, featured new and original pieces that not only showed off their remarkable gifts, but also demonstrated their ability to collaborate on interdisciplinary work. A contemporary dancer created a piece inspired by another student’s paintings, which were complimented by a writer’s essay and original music from a pianist. In another piece, a young man recited short poems while another student echoed the poetry with soft piano music. The students’ passion and energy was overflowing but remained focused. Staying open-minded and sharing their artistry with other students that they had just met must be incredibly challenging. It says a lot not only about their dedication and talent, but also about their potential growth as creative artists.
As The New York Times remarked, these students are “already scary-talented for their age”, but they were fortunate enough to receive mentoring from nine legendary artists who served as YoungArts Master Teachers. The new nine-part HBO series Masterclass followed the students’ experiences working with their mentors, who included Placido Domingo, Bill T. Jones, Julian Schnabel, Liv Ullman, and Jacques d’Amboise, among others. Each episode focuses on a different artist and offers a behind-the-scenes look at his or her interactions with the YoungArts participants. The trailer is below, and full schedule for the series is on HBO’s website.