2009 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts
Selected: Lucy Lippard
My project for the Do it (home) exhibition will be a cultivated community landscape situated and performed within a series of sports stadiums throughout Miami. The performance will be the assemblage of a devotional outdoor figure overtaking a recreational public sports field for the duration of 2 hours. I will utilize the existing environment and incorporate portable sculptural elements to the sports fields to create a temporary installation viewers can approach or view from a distance. Sculptures will be arranged in both a systematic and seemingly organic layout throughout the field, allowing viewers to walk through and encounter the figurative symbols pulling from Afro-Cuban and South American cosmology. The life size portable devotional figure will be surrounded by a tessellation of ceramic fruits and hand symbols. The temporary installation is intended to be accessible and for both the neighborhood and commuters. The outdoor installation will serve as a protective emblem and portal to the cosmic field for the community. In these circumstances when we are especially confined, the idea of public space isn no longer intellectual; it is every person's day to day yearning. I want to engage and explore the idea of public space with an eye towards inclusion and expanding what is thought possible with sculpture, performance and recreational fields.
2012 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts
Selected: David Lamelas
When I came upon David Lamelas' contribution to the Do It artist instructions, I felt deeply connected to its sentiment. It's very possible I misinterpreted what Lamelas had in mind, though I left the direction with equal parts understanding and wonder. I wondered the relevance of the moon, why one should make room for it in their minds after clearing out all the other chatter in their world. I also understood the moon as an artistic refuge from the world, perhaps a floating and distant metaphor of a physical space in the universe where one can see the inner workings of the creative mind—silent expansive terrain occupied by little craters left from ideas once excavated. This drawing came into existence through considering what it may look like to witness a thought take form and come into being—an act that relies on the health of one's imagination.
2018 YoungArts Winner in Writing
Selected: Nairy Baghramian
The result of my final piece came together as a sort of micro-essay formation under some constraints of Stein’s signature impulses, leaning into an anti-linear, spatially-driven mode, with my own personal narrative under the conditions of (at home) infused. I was attracted to a variety of source texts which I embedded into the verse, including Stein’s “Identity a Poem,” (1935) from which emerges my own little dog making an appearance as Dante's Virgil, feeding me my lines, an agitator to my own helplessness and divulgence into the self; Stein as Alice as the narrator of her own life from The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, an exercise in self-mythology and autobiography by proxy; and finally Derek Jarman from his own diaries in Modern Nature, an authority on gloom and bloom like no other, after which the poem takes its title. The poem is contained by scene to one room, but seeks to thread bodily, material, and virtual spaces, and the uncanny valleys between the three.
2016 YoungArts Winner in Design Arts
Selected: Carrie Mae Weems
This vessel is symbolic of facing the daily force. Each and every human being is a vessel and within each of us is contained a unique purpose. We all have certain gifts, talents, and passions that are meant to be used to complete our divine assignment. However, by conforming to this world's standards, we will never recognize what is hidden within us. All the forces of this world distract us from pulling out those precious dreams. These forces make us lose sight of the very reason why were place on this earth. This vessel is symbolic of every human being discovering the dreams placed inside of them and using their time to pull those dreams out to thus manifest them to the world.
2019 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts
Selected: Christian Boltanski
 Get your neighbors photo album: I’ll ask my neighbor to pick an album of theirs that they believe to be the most memorable (can be in a positive or negative sense). I implore annotations on the side of photos with important colors, patterns on fabric from loved ones, time periods and important locations. In doing so I make this collaborative project more immersive for my neighbor. They are actively engaged in their own history and having an intervention with these memories after many years.
 Give the neighbor yours in exchange: I follow the same guidelines I assigned for my neighbor.
 Enlarge these pictures to 8 x 10
 Frame them some simple fashion and hang on the walls of your apartment: I choose images from my neighbors’ album that provide patterns and colors and blow them up 8 x 10 and I create a collage out of them (size tbd but to be assumed that this will be a large scaled piece). With these abstracted images of colors shapes and patterns seen on these photos I will create a large-scale tufted piece (similar process to tufted rug making) to create an immersive wall ornament to hang in my home. Interacting with the album and the words written by my neighbor I aim to tell a story with color, shape, and composition.
 Your neighbor should do the same with your album: Knowing that my neighbor is a seamstress and works with fibers I believe providing her with these instructions she will create a piece using the materials accessible to her. Her aim as well as mine is to tell a story based off of words and images. She can decide to be inspired by color and pattern as I intend to do, or she may choose to stick to the phrasing and text I include. Scale will be same for both and will be hung somewhere on a wall in her house.
2017 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts
Selected: Carrie Mae Weems
I was struck by Carrie Mae Weems’ directions because it highlights two concepts. It is the call to hope and yet the admittance of anguish. This duality I see present in my own work with my depiction of arches. Holding an ever changing context, I see the form in doorways, in altars, in black boys’ hoodies, in basketball courts, in graves. The narrative that I find with it is ever compassing, triumphant, and debilitating. I think Weems’ instructions are in effort to set everything out on the table and move forward. I think about her series From Here I Saw What Happened and I Cried, and I think about the tragedy of telling it and the triumph of being able to do so. With this prompt, I want to showcase what's been collecting at my table, in my desk, under my bed, and construct it into a prayer. With the tools found at home, I want to use the imagery as something reflective, meditative, and transformative like the nature of clouds and sunsets...
2017 YoungArts Winner in Design Arts
Selected: Jonas Mekas
My response to the Do It (Home) prompt, created by MEKAS, Jonas Instruction (1996), involved drawing with a different finger every day for 1 minute. The results were very insightful, allowing me to really explore and see the different levels of control each individual finger had. While completing the prompt, I even thought “its amazing, we can create such beautiful images with our hands, but single out a finger and things become much more challenging.” I had expectations about how each finger would perform and assumed that it would be a lot easier than it was, but wow was I wrong.
2016 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts
Selected: Pascale Marthine Tayou
I took on Pascale’s instructions and sought out to make a film from 10 videos in my phone I no longer remembered were there. With a library of 743 videos (to be exact) you can imagine there were quite a few to choose from. True to the instructions the process of selecting and editing led to actual moments of recollection and recovery of some lost not so distant memory.
2018 YoungArts Winner in Voice
Selected: Shilpa Gupta
For my creative work, I wrote a song based on Shilpa Gupta’s artist instructions. In the writing process, I realized that there are two sides to my interpretation of “Look Straight Don’t See.” On the one hand, it’s self-assessing your current reality, then imagining a better one. On the other hand, it’s imagining someone else’s current reality in a “Looks can be deceiving” kind of way, then dreaming a better future for them also. Both sides get you to look past your sight and empathize with your heart. I also engineered, produced, and mixed the song.
2019 YoungArts Winner in Visual Arts
Selected: Etel Adnan
The artist's instructions have been a valuable avenue to explore and play. This process made space outside of my traditional illustration practice in which I was allowed to be present as an artist, grateful, creating without expectations. Being a part of this conversation through the use of artist instructions from artists from around the world, spanning decades, has been a fulfilling practice that should be more common.
2017 YoungArts Winner in Theater & U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts
Selected: Shilpa Gupta
I chose a prompt that read "Look straight. Don't see." as inspiration for this project. Instead of taking those words literally, I thought of "straight" as meaning heterosexual. As a Gay man who attended middle school in the United States, I often think about whether things look or sound "gay". I often find myself in the habit of wanting to "look straight", and otherwise wanting people to just not see me. I positioned the camera at claustrophobic angles to make the audience feel like a hidden eye watching a man's every move, which he eventually decides to confront.
1998 YoungArts Winner in Photography
Selected: Torkwase Dyson
I was in Pristina, Kosovo working on a project in early March 2020. I had to leave the country on less than a day’s notice, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, while ill. The process of rapidly traveling back to the United States didn’t leave me any time to process my weeklong experience in Pristina, nor the uncertainty about whether or not I had become sick with the virus myself.
To process my experiences in Kosovo, I will create a series of 13- 99 second drawings, one for each of the 13 days that I spent there from my home in the United States. I will perform drawings of my remembered walking paths from my time in Pristina, using LEDs to create light paintings of these paths. The LEDs will have photographs loaded into them of my own photographs from Kosovo and will use a real-time system of light-painting that will record the LEDs as digital drawings.
2008 YoungArts Winner in Writing
Selected: Precious Okoyomon
As the piece begins, the first actor delivers a monologue on their fear. Maybe a small one, the kind that doesn’t distract you often, but can sometimes sneak up on you in a pause between podcasts. Maybe something crushing. They hold up the paper where they wrote the fear down, which they then destroy. Some will destroy their paper with fire (home-setting permitting), some will rip it up, some will crumple it. They will then place the remains in the dirt of a flower pot. They prepare to plant, you seem them get a small garden tool, then they disappear and are replaced with a photo full of color and joy. The process is repeated until the screen is no longer full of squares of anxious people, but a beautiful garden.
1999 YoungArts Winner in Classical Music
Selected: Geta Bratescu