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Carlsbad resident Mia Davis, 17, is a YoungArts writing finalist eligible to be nominated for a U.S. President Scholar in the Arts award. Courtesy photo
Carlsbad resident Mia Davis, 17, is a YoungArts writing finalist eligible for a U.S. President Scholar in the Arts award. Courtesy photo
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Carlsbad teen named YoungArts writing finalist

CARLSBAD — A local teenager was recently named a YoungArts writing finalist, the organization’s top accolade, and became eligible for the prestigious U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts award, one of the nation’s highest academic honors for high school students.

Last month, Carlsbad resident Mia Davis, 17, a senior at Academy of Our Lady of Peace High School in San Diego, joined approximately 700 other YoungArts award winners nationwide across several disciplines, including design arts, theater, writing, voice, dance, music and film.

A finalist in the spoken word category, Davis will participate in National YoungArts Week from Jan. 8-15 in Miami. Participants will have the chance to learn from notable artists, such as architect Germane Barnes, author Richard Blanco, actor and playwright Taylor Mac, jazz alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, costume designer Machine Dazzle and actor BD Wong, according to a YoungArts press release.

“I was completely shocked. I had absolutely no idea,” Davis told The Coast News. “I was at school and just started screaming and jumping around. It was a great moment. Very special.”

As a YoungArts award winner, Davis joins a distinguished group of accomplished artists, including contemporary artist Daniel Arsham, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, dancer Camille A. Brown, actor Timothée Chalamet, actress Viola Davis and poet Amanda Gorman, to name a few.

Lin and Ted Arison established YoungArts in 1981 to identify exceptional young artists, amplify potential and invest in lifelong creative freedom. YoungArts provides space, funding, mentorship, professional development and community throughout an artist’s career.

Selected through the organization’s prestigious competition, YoungArts award winners, all 15-18 years old, are chosen for the caliber of their artistic achievement by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous, blind adjudication process.

YoungArts is the sole nominating agency for the President Scholar in the Arts award, established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 to recognize the nation’s top graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was expanded to include students who demonstrated talent in the visual, creative and performing arts.

YoungArts nominates 60 artists to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars each year. The commission then selects 20 award recipients.

“Every year, we are inspired anew by the talent, dedication and creativity of extraordinary early career artists,” said YoungArts artistic director Lauren Snelling. “YoungArts is proud to support artists at critical junctures throughout their lives, and we look forward to providing community and professional and creative development opportunities that will empower the 2023 award winners as they embark on exciting careers in the arts. Now more than ever, it is essential to support artists so their voices can be heard long into the future.”

For the duration of her career, Davis is eligible for exclusive creative and professional development support, including a wide range of fellowships, residencies and awards; micro-grants and financial awards; virtual and in-person presentation opportunities in collaboration with notable venues and cultural partners nationwide; and access to YoungArts Post, a free, private online platform for YoungArts artists to connect, collaborate and discover new opportunities.

Other local 2023 YoungArts winners include Canyon Crest Academy’s Hans Yang (Writing, Novel), and Torrey Pines High School’s Avery Hall and Canyon Crest Academy’s Grace Li (Dance, Modern Contemporary).

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