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A press release.

AWARD WINNING WRITER PUTS FAITH FIRST AND WINS BIG

Miami (Jan. 5, 2009) Oy, such nachas for Avital Chizhik and her family

Avital is a youngARTS Winner, and was selected as a finalist in the highly competitive, youngARTS national contest, for her exceptional skills as a writer. Avital is one of only 141 students who were chosen out of 6,000 applicants nationwide, to attend the annual youngARTS Week in Miami. youngARTS is the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) a Miami-based foundation with a national scope and a prestigious reputation. The student artists selected as finalists by NFAA, represent the top 2% of the talented high school seniors across the country. This is an extraordinary accomplishment and an honor that speaks volumes to Avital’s talent as a writer. As a finalist, Avital wins the right to come to Miami for an all expense paid week of artistic training, master classes and workshops with some of the world’s most accomplished and elite artists. She is also eligible to win even more prizes including cash awards valued at $10,000. youngARTS Week is considered to be the opportunity of a lifetime for emerging artists, most of whom can then write their own ticket, after participating in this nationally-renowned program.

Avital accepted this exciting award with great joy, unfortunately… she did not see the writing on the wall. Avital is Shomer Shabbat, and when she realized that one of the requirements of attending youngARTS Week would include her participation on Shabbat, she told youngARTS with a heavy heart, that she wouldn’t be able to attend. This story would have ended there, but fortunately for Avital, youngARTS decided to write a different ending. Wanting to ensure that Avital could make it to Miami, youngARTS sprang into action; arranging for special hotel accommodations so that Avital could walk to services and have Sabbath meals at Chabad, at the University of Miami. They also arranged for kosher meals for the entire week allowing her to follow the Laws of Kashrut. youngARTS also hired an additional chaperone to accommodate all of Avital’s unique needs.

Avital’s devotion to her faith is of paramount importance. Her dedication to her craft as a writer is also extremely important. Avital has found away to combine both of her true loves. Her work tends to focus on her proud Jewish Russian heritage. As a young artist she invests a great deal of time and energy into being one of the best. youngARTS recognizes this commitment and feels that is important to make sure they honor her spirit as an artist and as a Jewish woman. Roberta Behrendt-Fliss, Vice President of Programs for youngARTS says, “We are proud to have such a diverse group of finalists, we want to honor their talent as well as their commitment to their faith. We are thrilled to be able to accommodate Avital.”

In 1981, Israeli born Ted Arison, along with his wife Lin, founded the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA). The late, Ted Arison created NFAA to recognize outstanding young artists, provide educational enrichment and professional development assistance in their pursuit of the arts, and to raise appreciation, support and awareness of the arts in America to ensure the nation’s artistic future. NFAA’s new President and CEO Christina DePaul says, “How can we support artists if we don’t support who they are at the very core of their being? What a great way to honor the Arison legacy, and to encourage Avital.” Avital is extremely grateful for the special treatment. She thanks youngARTS for giving her a chance to re-write this exceptional chapter in her life. “I really appreciate how hard youngARTS is working to accommodate my Sabbath needs,” says Avital “I’m certain that this experience will change my life.” Avital is now scheduled to join 140 other lucky young artists in Miami in mid-January. For more information on NFAA and the youngARTS and some of their free performances and exhibits, go to www.youngarts.org



About youngARTS NFAA:

youngARTSÔ identifies the nation's most talented high school seniors in nine different disciplines in the performing, literary and visual arts. The program offers unique educational opportunities as well as scholarships and awards to artists who demonstrate extraordinary talent. youngARTS is based on the belief that the arts sustain their power only if they are continually renewed and refreshed by the vigor and perspective of young artists. youngARTS is the exclusive nominating agency to The Commission on Presidential Scholars for the annual selection of the Presidential Scholars in the Arts; the selected few receive their awards at the White House each summer. Alumni include Broadway actors, award-winning playwrights, published authors and numerous esteemed musicians and visual artists. Christina DePaul, an accomplished, award-winning artist and educator, is the new President and CEO of youngARTS.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Media Contact
Kate McPherson
Communications Coordinator
kmcpherson@youngarts.org
305-377-1140 x248


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