The artistic talents of three seniors from Benjamin Cardozo High School, Marie Fuchs, Lily Jen and Sonnye Lim, earned them slots to participate in the residency program youngARTS Week.
The program is part of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) and is held in Miami. This year, 6,000 students throughout the nation applied for the program and 141 were selected. Every year, “youngARTS identifies the nation’s most talented high school seniors in nine different disciplines in the performing, literary and visual arts.”
“Each year youngARTS offers the most talented of America’s young artists the encouragement and means to transform their dreams into a reality as it has done for many of our alumni,” said NFAA President and CEO Christina De Paul.
Fuchs, Jen and Lim said it took them each about a year and a half to get their portfolios ready in order to apply for youngARTS. The portfolio had to include 10 pieces, five of which had to be related to a theme. Submissions were due the beginning of November and the students found out they had been selected before Thanksgiving.
Lim, who lives in Douglaston, said she was excited and that it was a great feeling to have been selected since she did not think she would. Flushing resident Jen said that she was happy to have been selected.
“In all honesty I never really thought I would win anything. I never even thought people would recognize the talents people apparently saw in my work,” Fuchs, an Astoria resident, said. “It was a shock, it was a great feeling.”
From January 12 to January 18, youngARTS participants went to Miami where they participated in a variety of activities. For Fuchs, Jen and Lim, it included hanging their work up in the gallery, exploring the gallery, going on guided tours, museum trips and seeing performances or presentations related to each discipline. They also participated in workshops, master classes and personal mentoring.
“I had a lot of emotional epiphanies throughout my trip there,” Jen said. She added, “It was great to be in the company of the people who are the best of the best.”
Lim said that her favorite part of the experience was seeing the performances and artwork of other participants. She also said that all of the panelists were great. Fuchs also said that she was very inspired by the panelists and that she felt a connection with them.
Following youngARTS Week, Lim said that she learned that there are other people out there who are just as good and that “there’s always going to be somebody better than you out there.” She said that prior to this experience she was not a very dedicated student but has since started to feel that she needs to work harder to “be on par” with other students around the country.
Jen said that she learned a lot about the different kinds of people she will be going to college with. She also said that the learning experience wasn’t limited to just that week, but was the entire process of creating a portfolio.
“I think we changed very significantly from where we started to where we are now with the portfolio as the catalyst for the change,” Jen said.
Fuchs’ experiences taught her that networking is an important part of the art world. She also said that it was good to know that there are other people who are as dedicated and focused as she, Jen and Lim are and who also have similar aspirations.