Written By Sergy Odiduro
September 21, 2023 at 7:03 PM

Taylor Moxey was a 2022 YoungArts winner in dance. She called her experience “truly life-changing.” Photo by Dyson Campbell.

“I freaked out,” Taylor Moxey describes how she felt when she received the call that she had been waiting for. As an applicant for the YoungArts competition, she was hoping to win a spot within their contemporary and modern dance category. When she finally received a callback, she couldn’t believe it. For her, this was a dream come true.

Now other aspiring dancers, painters, and artists can have the same opportunity.

Students who submit an application by October 13 will have a chance to be mentored by industry experts, receive lifelong professional support, and obtain awards ranging from $250 to up to $10,000.

Rebekah Lengel, Vice President, Strategy and Impact for YoungArts is looking forward to another year of talented candidates.  “We’ve been doing this for over 40 years now and it really supports our mission of identifying exceptional young artists and amplifying their potential while giving us the opportunity to invest in their lifelong creative freedom,” said Lengel.

“This is such an exceptional opportunity for talented young people from all over the United States. To come together and really start understanding what the future looks like for them as an artist and how they can carve that path [and] meet prospective collaborators and mentors.”

Interested applicants between the ages of 15 through 18 or in grades 10-12 are encouraged to apply.

Eligible participants will attend National YoungArts Week in Miami. The all expenses paid intensive program offers instruction from esteemed artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Debbie Allen. As part of the process, high school seniors can also be nominated for the White House Commission on U.S. Presidential Scholars. Selected winners will be announced on November 30.
Lengel offered some helpful tips to boost success.

“Read the instructions very carefully,” she emphasized. “We have some really great guidelines and guides that we put out there of what we’re looking for and what strengthens an application.”

Another suggestion is to take advantage of info sessions offered, which include program alumni and panelists that offer deeper insights into what they’re looking for in particular applications. Lengel urges applicants to, “definitely check out our website and our YouTube channel to review any of the information that we’ve shared about the particular area that they’re applying in.”

Lengel also suggested getting someone else to take a look at the application before it is submitted. “Share it with a couple of trusted friends, whether it’s a teacher or parents, a counselor, some mentors or even just friends so that they may have a second opinion. Make sure that it’s clear… and then just double check your submission and try and get it in before the date it is actually due just in case there’s any issues with the Internet.”

Shanett Berdayes, a 2023 YoungArtsPhotography winner, participated in National YoungArts Week in January. Photo credit Jason Koerner.

Shanett Berdayes, a 2023 Photography Winner, also believes that adding a personal touch is key. “You have your own story, so tell that story because no one else truly can say it as well as you can,” Berdayes said. “You may think that they’re looking for specific things, but they’re looking for your story, for your voice and what you have to say, and how you can depict it and how you can show it through art.”

And while there are several proven methods to ensure success, one thing is clear. Once chosen, it is a game changer.

“It was one of the best weeks of my life,” said Moxey. “I have grown exponentially, not only as a dancer but as an artist and as a person since YoungArts Week. I’ve made so many incredible connections, not only with people from my discipline of dance but from other disciplines like music, visual arts, poetry and speaking.”

Berdayes agrees. “I learned so much from every one of my peers,” she said. “I was like, they’re so talented and I wanted to be with them. And we truly are so close to each other. That’s how people will affect you in such a good way.”

“We’ve created such an incredible bond and community,” Moxey continued. “And it feels like we’ve known each other for so many years and… it’s been one of the greatest gifts. I’ve been able to say I’ve been a part of something like this because it’s truly life changing.”

Moxey encourages everyone to apply even if it means coming face to face with your own fears.

“I definitely was someone that was nervous going into it… And it’s an incredible organization to be a part of,” she said.

“Everyone’s included in the community. So once you’re in it, you’re in it for life. So just do it scared and just go for it!”

The application for the YoungArts National Arts Competition for young adults aged 15 to 18 is open until October 13, 2023. Visit for information. is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music and more. Don’t miss a story at

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