Twelve South Carolina students recognized in national arts competition

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Each year the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) holds one of the largest student art competitions highlighting promising young artists in the literary, visual, design and performing arts from around the country. This year, over 7,500 students auditioned from 47 states, and 12 students from South Carolina, including six finalists, placed among the 757 winners—the top 10 percent of students who auditioned.

The South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities had six students who placed, including Zane Austill, Writing Finalist in the Short Story category; Aidan Forster, Writing Finalist in Creative Non-Fiction and Honorable Mention in Poetry; Kevin Hopkins, Visual Arts Finalist; Charlotte Shuler, Writing Finalist in Creative Non-fiction; Kyle Tolbert, Voice Merit in Singer-Songwriter; and Emma Sargent, Visual Arts Merit.

The Fine Arts Center in Greenville had three students who placed, including Anna Burkhardt, Visual Arts Merit; Samuele Parrini, Classical Music Merit in Violin; and Rachel Yi, Classical Music Merit in Violin.


Kierra Gray, from Richland Two Charter High School, is a Voice Finalist in the Singer-Songwriter category. Darian O'Neil, from Marlboro County High School, is a Writing Finalist in Play or Script. Jenny Yao, from the Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston, received a Classical Music Merit in Composition.

The finalists had the opportunity to attend the 37th National YoungArts Week in Miami, Florida in January, where they participated in master classes and workshops from internationally-recognized professionals and competed for higher honors.

All YoungArts winners become part of a professional network of over 20,000 alumni artists and are eligible to participate in YoungArts' regional programs as well as nominations as a U.S. Presidential Scholar of the Arts.

"YoungArts congratulates all of the 2018 winners. This extraordinary group of young artists represents the vibrancy of our culture for years to come and we look forward to supporting and encouraging them at key junctures in their careers," stated Carolina García Jayaram, YoungArts President and CEO. "I applaud all of our extraordinary panelists in making this year's selection, one of the most competitive in YoungArts' history."



The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and nurture the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts, and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development. Through a wide range of annual programs, regular performances, and partnerships with some of the nation's leading cultural institutions, YoungArts aspires to create a strong community of alumni and a platform for a lifetime of encouragement, opportunity and support.

YoungArts' signature program is an application-based award for emerging artists ages 15 - 18 or in grades 10 - 12 from across the United States. Selected through a blind adjudication process, YoungArts Winners receive valuable support, including financial awards of up to $10,000, professional development and educational experiences working with renowned mentors-such as Debbie Allen, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Rebecca Walker, Plácido Domingo, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons, Wynton Marsalis, Salman Rushdie and Carrie Mae Weems-and performance and exhibition opportunities at some of the nation's leading cultural institutions, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Modern Art (New York) and New World Center (Miami). Additionally, YoungArts Winners are eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.

YoungArts Winners become part of a thousands-strong alumni network of artists, which offers them additional professional opportunities throughout their careers. YoungArts alumni who have gone on to become leading professionals in their fields include actresses Viola Davis, Anna Gunn, Zuzanna Szadkowski and Kerry Washington; Broadway stars Raúl Esparza, Billy Porter, Andrew Rannells and Tony Yazbeck; recording artists Josh Groban, Judith Hill and Chris Young; Metropolitan Opera star Eric Owens; musicians Terence Blanchard, Gerald Clayton, Jennifer Koh and Elizabeth Roe; choreographers Camille A. Brown and Desmond Richardson; visual artists Daniel Arsham and Hernan Bas; internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken; New York Times bestselling author Sam Lipsyte; and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Doug Blush. Carnival Foundation is the YoungArts National Premier Sponsor. For more information, visit, or

About S.C. Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities

Located in Greenville, the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities (SCGSAH) cultivates young artists from across the state through pre-professional training in the areas of creative writing, dance, drama, music and visual arts. As a public, residential high school, serving juniors and seniors, students refine their talents in a master-apprentice community while receiving a nationally recognized academic education. Summer programs are available to rising 7th-12th grade students. SCGSAH also serves as a resource to all teachers and students in South Carolina, offering comprehensive outreach programs designed to bring together artists, educators, community organizations and schools.