Talented Young Artists Flock To Miami For YoungArts Week

Jan 9, 2013

Credit Matthew Fang/Flickr

About 150 talented, young artists from across the country are in Miami this week to hone their skills through classes and performances.

They were chosen from a pool of 10,000 applicants to take part in the 32nd annual YoungArts Week. Twenty of the participants are from Florida.

Executive director for the YoungArts Foundation, Paul Lehr, explained that the purpose of his foundation and its week-long program is to help identify and train talent.

Like the famous dancer and choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov scouted a promising young performer during a previous YoungArts Week.

"Mikhail Baryshnikov was in the audience,” said Lehr. “Lo and behold, within two days she was auditioning for Juilliard even though she hadn't applied to Juilliard and she ended up getting a four-year, full-ride to Juilliard."

The Miami-based YoungArts Foundation was started by the late founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, Ted Arison, and his wife to develop the next generation of great American artists.

The Miami Herald interviewed one aspiring artist who is taking part in the program:

(Jessica) Darrow, a senior at Coral Reef who turns 18 a day after the gala, evokes Barbra Streisand’sFunny Girl in her zany turn as the title character in The Drowsy Chaperone, a role she played two years ago with Miami Children’s Theater. 

The bright, rising talent already has her future in the arts mapped out three years before she can legally drink a toast to her success.

“My little dream, my goal, is hopefully to be cast in Saturday Night Live because I love comedy. That is my forte. From there I’d like to get recognized from SNL and have someone ask, ‘Can you sing?’ Actually, I can sing. I’ll whip it out of the back of my pocket,” she says with both longing and respect.

“So then, they will put me in some movie musical because I have the look.

“And then I can have a great dramatic part and then end my career with a great Broadway show, like the great Carol Burnett. She is my idol,” says Darrow, who lives in Cutler Bay.

The artists are in Miami this week performing and presenting their work to the public, for free, through Friday with a special gala on Saturday.