Hancock Co. student named Presidential Scholar in the Arts | Arts & Culture
A Hancock County High School student has been honored at one of 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
Lathan Vargason will be honored in Washington, D.C., and be awarded the medallion in a White House ceremony next month.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the names of the recipients Wednesday. The Scholars were nominated by YoungArts, a program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. For an artistically talented graduating high school senior, inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon them.
The award is presented on behalf of the President of the United States, and selection is based upon academic, civic and artistic achievement. Lathan is an accomplished artist.
Each year, 141 U.S. Presidential Scholars are recognized, including up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts.
“The students who are chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts represent the nation’s best in the visual, literary and performing arts,” says Paul T. Lehr, YoungArts’ Executive Director. “Our rigorous program identifies the most talented and well-rounded candidates each year, and I am proud to see our organization play such an essential part in recognizing and developing America’s young artists and next generation of leaders.”
The 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts will be honored in Washington D.C. together with the rest of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars during National Recognition Weekend. The Scholars will travel to Washington, DC to meet with government officials, educators, authors, musicians and other accomplished individuals. The artists and writers will exhibit their works at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Sunday, June 17, and perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, June 18.
To be selected as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, candidates must participate in and receive a nomination from YoungArts. Each year, YoungArts receives up to 5,000 applications for its national program. After a rigorous adjudication process, the organization nominates 60 YoungArts finalists for further consideration to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.
Finally, the Commission on Presidential Scholars, whose members are appointed by the President, select up to 20 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts each year. YoungArts is the exclusive path to the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts awards.
According to YoungArts, "Lathan Vargason creates art that is influenced and inspired by events and stories that he reads, as well as things he witnesses in his own small community. He is an alumnus of The Kentucky Center’s Governor’s School for the Arts and has had a solo exhibition of work at The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center. Being an artist in an extremely small community, acceptance and understanding have been difficult. Art is not widely understood and respected in his area, and the recognition from arts programs including YoungArts, Scholastics Awards and others, allows Lathan to continue what he loves and encourages him to impact a broader audience. Lathan’s ultimate dream and goal is to have his art touch people in personal and exhilarating ways."
The 2012 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts join an illustrious group which includes Tony Award- nominated dancer and choreographer Desmond Richardson, American Ballet Theatre Executive Director Rachel Moore, novelist and National Book Award Finalist Allegra Goodman, Grammy Award-nominated violinist Jennifer Koh, BRAVO’s Work of Art winner Abdi Farah, and OBIE Award-winning actress Donna Lynne Champlin.
This year’s U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts represent eleven states and nine artistic disciplines including cinematic arts, dance, jazz, music, photography, theater, voice, visual arts and writing.