PBS Partners with YoungArts to Live Stream U.S. Presidential Scholars Performance from the Kennedy Center on June 18, 2012

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WASHINGTON, DC; June 15, 2012-- PBS today announced it will partner with YoungArts to live stream A Salute to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars, a performance by the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts with special guests Herbie Hancock and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 18 at 8 p.m. EST.

Nominated through YoungArts, the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are being honored as the top high-school artists in the nation with superior academic and artistic achievement, leadership and character.  Their performances will be streamed live on PBS’ Facebook page and YoungArts’ website.

“We are so honored that PBS has partnered with us again to live stream the performance by the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts,” says Paul T. Lehr, YoungArts’ Executive Director.  “We are proud of our ongoing collaboration with PBS. This level of recognition and exposure is an important element of our mission to foster and develop the careers of America’s young artists and to generate support and interest in the arts across the nation.”

“We are proud to again provide a platform to showcase the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts,” added PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger. “Part of our mission is to provide the world’s largest stage for the arts, and by bringing the work of YoungArts to a broader audience, we hope we can extend the impact of this important program.  This is especially important at a time when arts funding is facing dramatic cuts.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will deliver welcome remarks, and Herbie Hancock, legendary pianist and composer, will extend greetings as a special guest.  Students expected to be featured on June 18 include spoken-word/theater performer Michelle Ang from Fairfield, CA; spoken-word/theater performer Nadia Cook-Loshilov from Brooklyn, NY; photographer Brannon Dorsey from Richmond, VA; musician/recorder player Bryan Duerfeldt from Bloomington, MN; cinematic artist Daniel Frantz from Downingtown, PA; musician/piano player Kimberly Hou from Arlington, VA; jazz musician/double bass Martin Jaffe from Conway, MA; singer Kelley Kessell from Cutler Bay, FL; dancer Amanda Krische from Glendale, NY; singer Kelsey Lauritano from San Francisco, PA; spoken-word/musical theater performer Michael Leadbetter from Rochester, NY; dancer/choreographer Taylor Rodman from Coppell, TX; singer Laila Smith from San Jose, CA; visual artist Jessica Suhr from Miami, FL; and visual artist Lathan Vargason from Lewisport, KY.

Each year the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are drawn from a pool of talented high school students across the nation who apply to the YoungArts program. Following a rigorous adjudication process, and participation in the program, YoungArts then nominates 60 finalists for consideration by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.  The 2012 winners, including 20 graduating high school seniors who are talented singers, dancers, musicians, writers, filmmakers, and theater/spoken-word performers, were named earlier this year by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

In addition to A Salute to the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars, the work of the visual artists and writers will be on view in a special exhibition, An Exhibition of Works, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from June 17 to July 4, 2012.

As part of PBS’ commitment to arts and performance programming, this live-streamed event gives all Americans an early glimpse, from a front-row seat, at the country’s next generation of talent.  This summer, PBS launches its PBS Arts Summer Festival (beginning June 29 at 9 p.m.). In addition, PBSArts.org will feature exclusive online programs and exhibitions that extend PBS’ broadcast content, giving viewers a chance to learn more about featured artists and discover new ones.

About the U.S. Presidential Scholars The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor the nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. Each year, up to 141 students are named as U.S. Presidential Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students, including up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

About YoungArts YoungArts is the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) and the signature national program that that recognizes and supports America’s most talented young artists in the visual, literary and performing arts. The organization’s mission is to identify emerging artists, provide educational enrichment and assistance in their pursuit of the arts, and to raise the appreciation for and support of the arts in American society. Dedicated to inspiring and nurturing young artists, YoungArts was founded in 1981 by businessman and visionary, the late Ted Arison, and his wife Lin. The program identifies the next generation of emerging artists and contributes to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development of thousands of gifted artists in nine disciplines in the visual, literary and performing arts. At the request of The Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts is the exclusive path to the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

The YoungArts program has honored more than 16,000 young artists with more than $6 million in monetary awards and facilitated in excess of $100 million in college scholarship opportunities. Alumni go on to become leading professionals in their fields and include actresses Vanessa Williams, Viola Davis and Kerry Washington, four-time Tony Award nominee Raúl Esparza, Executive Director of American Ballet Theatre Rachel Moore, recording artists Nicki Minaj and Chris Young, musician Jennifer Koh, choreographer Desmond Richardson, and internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Doug Aitken.

For more information about YoungArts, visit www.youngarts.org.

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CONTACTS: Jennifer Byrne, PBS, 703-739-5487; jrbyrne@pbs.org  Rebecca M. Gentry, YoungArts, 305-377-1140 x1300; rebeccag@youngarts.org John Michael Kennedy, Goodman Media International, 212-576-2700 x243; jmkennedy@goodmanmedia.com

For images and additional up-to-date information on this and other PBS programs, visit PBS PressRoom at pbs.org/pressroom.