Miami is a city incredibly rich in culture—where artists, dreamers, and people filled with exuberant energy can be found left and right turning the place into their canvas. As a hub for the creative to create, we have the luxury of being home to one of the most prestigious institutions dedicated to global opportunities for young artists, Young Arts. Young Arts is located near the heart of the Miami art scene, Wynwood. This institution has made opportunities of exposure for thousands of “performing, visual, and literary” artists accessible, based entirely on talent and merit.
Carlota Montero, a 17-year-old artist from Venezuela based in Miami who received the “Young Arts Merit Scholar” recognition in the field of Visual Arts this past December, gave The Pure Life Mag an in-depth look at what the journey toward this accolade looks like for an aspiring artist.
Carlota has been involved in the arts from a young age, from dance to piano lessons, she experienced all the ups and downs of growing up in an industry where the standard tends to be marketed as unattainable. When Carlota reached high school, she decided to pursue art and consequently applied to several art high schools in the Miami area. Although she lacked experience in the Visual Arts track, no challenge was too big for Carlota.
“I asked the art teacher for advice. She snapped me into reality, and told me “you’re dreaming too big, I doubt this will happen.” Being the person I am, I felt motivated to give my all. I got accepted into all five schools I applied to. I started enjoying art and realized the countless opportunities it was giving me to express myself, something I had trouble with for a while.”
Carlota proceeded to attend “New World School of the Arts”, a highly rigorous art school dedicated to fine-tuning growing young artists.
The Young Arts National Competition is composed of three different levels of adjudication, Finalist, Honorable Mention, and Merit. Each category recognizes the hard work of students 15-18 in over ten disciplines through scholarships, “a lifetime of artistic support and ongoing connection with an extraordinarily robust network of peers and mentors.”
The journey toward becoming a Young Arts scholar isn't an easy one, but it can prove to be incredibly rewarding. "I experienced a lot of doubt. Doubt in my abilities and talent. Young Arts is a huge thing, and there were moments we I asked myself if all of these late nights and hard work were worth it, was my portfolio going to stand out, or would the judges just look right past it? Once my portfolio started coming together this doubt started fading and confidence started showing. I started believing in myself and thought this might actually work."
But despite being filled with doubt, Carlota's work ethic and determination led her to success. "December 15 came around and young arts was not crossing my mind. I was in my economics class and heard the list came out. Seconds later I received an email from young arts. I immediately opened it and saw confetti. My friends around me started cheering me on, and one of my classmates in front of me received that email as well. It was at that moment that I realized all my hard work had paid off... It was a way of proving to myself that my art practice means something to me and that it isn’t just something I do for school."
Carlota's story showcases the true value of finding joy in what you do and the diligence to prove that hard work pays off. Young Arts will continue to serve as an outlet to experiment and play with the boundaries of art for creative minds everywhere. In Carlota's own words, the best thing to do is to "Go for it. Stop finding excuses to not do it. Do the eccentric stuff and don’t try to produce work like everyone else. Make it so that people know it's your work. Find a voice in what you do, and most importantly do it with love, passion, and dedication. It’s very easy to differentiate work that was done for an assignment and work that the artist truly enjoyed."