As the National YoungArts Foundation prepares to welcome the 2015 YoungArts winners from South Florida to YoungArts Miami, one of the organization’s three regional programs, I am reminded of all that YoungArts has done for me. I am not exaggerating when I say that it changed my life and continues to be a driving force in my artistic career.
In 2006, I became a winner in Popular Voice and attended National YoungArts Week in Miami. That same year, through the program, I was nominated for and selected as one of 20 2006 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
These two high designations and my affiliation with YoungArts have provided me with one incredible opportunity after another.
I have met and worked with inspiring artists, mentors, and fellow notable YoungArts alumni such as Judith Hill, Bill T. Jones, Adrian Grenier, Kate Davis and Elliott Skinner. Among a long lineup of gigs I’ve secured through YoungArts, I’ve performed at the Ziegfeld Theater; sung at the official commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 in Paris; been featured on Today; opened for FKA twigs, James Blake and SBTRKT during Art Basel Miami Beach 2014; participated in two YoungArts Backyard Ball gala shows; and, most recently, performed at Ted’s at YoungArts.
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Nestled inside the YoungArts campus, there are few places that have the charm of this cultural lounge and eatery. Named in honor of YoungArts’ co-founder and philanthropist Ted Arison, Ted’s is a unique space designed by world-renowned architect and YoungArts Artistic Advisor Frank Gehry. Guests can enjoy delicious food by Starr Restaurants Catering Group alongside various types of visual and performing arts. It’s a special place for artists, and YoungArts alumni in particular, to share their work with audiences in an intimate setting. When dining at Ted’s, the audience is immersed in a 360-degree visual landscape, often also created by YoungArts.
I grew up in Wisconsin, currently live in Brooklyn and perform around the world But taking the stage at Ted’s is always a reminder of everything that YoungArts continues to do for me and for thousands of young artists: It provides us with support and encouragement, nurtures our dreams and aspirations and allows us to share our passion with others.
If you enjoy discovering new artistic talent, savoring delicious bites and trying new craft cocktails, I encourage you to make Ted’s at YoungArts a regular part of your cultural calendar. I hope to return to Miami soon to perform at Ted’s again. Until then, I hope you will enjoy some of the incredible artists scheduled to perform.
Grace Weber is a singer/songwriter. Go to https://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=S0RSw04Yvz8 to see her performing at Ted’s.