Lucas Marinetto dancing

16-year-old Leesburg resident Lucas Marinetto is among nearly 700 young artists honored this year by the National YoungArts Foundation.

Sixteen-year-old Lucas Marinetto, a Leesburg resident and member of Ashburn's Studio Bleu Dance Center, has been honored with one of the National YoungArts Foundation highest honors by being named a 2020 Finalist in Dance.

"I am thrilled to be a part of this elite group and embark on this extraordinary new journey," Marinetto, an 11th-grader at Herndon's Cortona Academy, said in a prepared statement.

YoungArts, founded in 1981 and based in Miami, Florida, aims to identify accomplished young artists in the visual, literary and performing arts and provide them with career-long creative and professional development opportunities.

This year, the organization recognized nearly 700 accomplished young visual, literary and performing artists across the county. They were selected by a discipline-specific panel of artists through a blind adjudication process.

Along with being named a finalist, Marinetto will receive a cash prize of up to $10,000 and participate in January's National YoungArts Week, which provides YoungArts honorees with master classes, workshops and mentorship from artists in their respective fields.

Finalists named by YoungArts are eligible to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, an honor bestowed to high school seniors by the president. YoungArts nominates 60 artists to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars every year. The commission ultimately selects 20 artist to be named Presidential Scholars.

“Every year I am reminded that extraordinary artistry is ageless and the 2020 YoungArts award winners—all teenage artists—have done it again. This group of emerging talent represents the inspiring potential of the next generation of artists,” YoungArts Board Chair Sarah Arison said in a prepared statement.

More information on the organization is available at youngarts.org.

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