Three local students receive highest 2023 YoungArts honor


Canyon Crest Academy student Hans Yang has been named a 2023 YoungArts Finalist in Writing (Novel), the highest honor of the organization, according to a news release. In addition, Torrey Pines High School student Avery Hall and Canyon Crest Academy student Grace Li were named 2023 YoungArts Finalists in Dance (Modern-Contemporary).

Hans Yang
(Photo by Luke Tan)

The students have been recognized for the caliber of their artistic achievement and join 702 of the most accomplished young visual, literary, and performing artists from throughout the county, the news release stated. Selected through the organization’s prestigious competition, YoungArts award winners, all 15–18 years old or in grades 10–12, are chosen for the caliber of their artistic achievement by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous, blind adjudication process. These YoungArts award winners join a distinguished community of artists and are offered creative and professional development support throughout their careers. A complete list of the 2023 winners is available online at

“Every year we are inspired anew by the talent, dedication and creativity of extraordinary early career artists,” said YoungArts Artistic Director Lauren Snelling in the news release. “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 that their voices can be heard long into the future.”

As a finalist, Yang, Hall and Li will participate in National YoungArts Week in January 2023. Award winners 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, who will lead the annual AON masterclass.

The finalists are eligible to be nominated to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the highest honors given to high school seniors by the President of the United States. YoungArts, the sole nominating agency, nominates 60 artists to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars, from which the 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are selected.

For the duration of their careers, the finalists are eligible for exclusive creative and professional development support including a wide range of fellowships, residencies and awards; microgrants and financial awards; virtual and in-person presentation opportunities in collaboration with major 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.

As a YoungArts award winner, Yang, Hall and Li join a distinguished group of accomplished artists such as Daniel Arsham, Terence Blanchard, Camille A. Brown, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Amanda Gorman, Judith Hill, Jennifer Koh, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Andrew Rannells, Desmond Richardson and Hunter Schafer.

The YoungArts competition is open to artists 15-18 years old (or in grades 10 – 12). For more information about becoming a YoungArts award winner visit