YoungArts Week: A chance to see the future of the arts

National YoungArts Week kicks off Jan. 6 and for some of the young artists attending, they’ll see a familiar face.

Santino Fontana (2000 YoungArts Winner in Theater and Voice & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts) is a Tony Award-winning actor and star of Broadway’s TOOTSIE and TV’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He and many other accomplished artists will help prepare this year’s YoungArts Winners — some of the most accomplished young artists from around the country — for the next stage of their artistic development. 

It’s Santino’s second year as a master teacher with the weeklong program, which brings together the most accomplished young artists — ages 15-18 — across 10 disciplines in the visual, literary and performing arts. Wish you could see their work? You can. Check the full performance and exhibition schedule.

“This isn’t young showbiz or young stardom: this is YoungArts,” Santino said. “This is about figuring out what makes you tick as an artist, and cultivate and support that for a long future.” 

Santino and the YoungArts program go way back. He himself was a participant in National YoungArts Week during his senior year of high school, and found the validation he got as an artist to be key.  

“It’s an organization that changed the course of my life,” he said.   

To this day, Santino values and cherishes the relationships he made, and the lifelong mentors who made a difference to his career. Becoming part of a nationwide network of passionate and artistic peers, all fellow artists and YoungArts alumni, gave him opportunities to discuss his career path, explore ideas, and collaborate. 

Santino is ready to welcome the 2020 award winners to the YoungArts family and is excited to share their passion and inspirations.  

“The great thing about seeing the kids — it’s all ahead of them. The jaded, cynical New Yorker in me needs to be reminded of what we’re doing as actors,” Santino said. “To tell a story to strangers to help unite them — it’s a powerful thing. And to see the hope and excitement in these kids eyes, it’s a great reminder in the power of what we do.”

Besides the opportunity to connect with a rich network of peers, YoungArts award winners can win cash awards of up to $10,000, become eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and access a lifetime of creative and professional development opportunities. 

“There’s no other organization helping to identify talent at that age in a national way in every discipline to help support their maturation in education and training as an artist,” Santino said. “Everyone is looking for community and guidance… and that’s where YoungArts steps in.”

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED: Every night during the week, artists across disciplines will perform and exhibit their work. Below is performance schedule at a glance. 


National YoungArts Week 2020 Schedule

Performances at New World Center

Monday, Jan. 6
Voice Performance
8 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 7
Jazz & Theater Performance
8 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 8
Dance Performance & Film Screenings
8 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 9
Classical Music Concert
8:30 p.m.


On the YoungArts Campus

Friday, Jan. 10
Writers’ Readings
6:30 p.m.

Design, Photography & Visual Arts Exhibition Opening
7:30 p.m.



By The New Tropic Creative Studio
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