2014 Young Artist Award

 The Arts Education Partnership’s AEP Youth in Arts Program recognizes and honors accomplished, talented students while shining a spotlight on supportive parents, dedicated teachers and thriving arts programs in the region of AEP National Forums. The Youth in Arts Program consists of the Young Artist Award, and student performing and learning experiences.


Meet the 2014 Young Artist Award Recipient, Antara Cleetus

A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Antara is a talented artist, and as a rising sixth-grader, she is the youngest recipient of the Young Artist Award.  Talent runs in the family- her father is a painter and a cartoonist. Antara has also received the 2013 Regional PTA Reflections Award and the 2014 PTA PA State Reflections Award.  Antara begins middle school this fall and hopes to continue her art education.  AEP will present Antara with the Young Artist Award at the AEP National Forum in Pittsburgh, PA, on September 12, 2014.

“Whenever I was asked to choose a board game, it would always be Pictionary. As long as I can remember, I’ve eagerly watched my father at work, creating ads, painting canvases, or sketching cartoons. When I started school, suddenly art class couldn’t come soon enough.  Before long, I was hooked on my dad’s art lessons, YouTube art videos and the ‘How to Draw’ iPhone app. I also experimented with drawing styles and painting techniques.’

“Along the way, I discovered the PTA Reflections Arts program.  In 2013, I won first place at the Regional level competition, and this year I won 1st place at the Pennsylvania State level.  I hope to continue evolving my visual art skills as I move into Junior High. As long as I have a pencil and a sheet of paper, I’ll never get bored!”

Interview with the Artist:

Why is art important to you and how has art shaped your life?

Art is important to me because it’s just another way to express yourself and it’s kind of relaxing. If I’m frustrated, I’ll just draw. 

 Tell us more about your piece and what it represents to you.

Well I drew a goddess, and I got the inspiration when I was at a temple for a festival and the goddess, Durga, was shown with the third eye.  In India they believe that the third eye lets you see things you can’t normally see.  I tried to show how you can dream, believe and inspire through the third eye.

Who are your favorite artists and how have they shaped your artistic personality?

Well I don’t really like a lot of artists, but I like my dad.  I always follow what my dad does, because he always paints.  I like to watch my dad as he’s painting or drawing so I guess you could say that I like to follow my dad.  I like to do some of the styles that he does and he’s given me a lots of tips. 

What makes a good art teacher? 

A good art teacher is someone who helps you but doesn’t criticize your work, and they let you just be creative and do whatever you want to do.

Besides art, what are your other hobbies and interests?

I love to read and dance and sing.  I also learn Indian dance and tap and ballet. 

Listen to the full interview here.


Young Artist Award Objectives

Develop leadership skills and build self-confidence among young people. The Young Artist awardee serves as an ambassador representing his or her school and community before a national audience of arts and education professionals. AEP coaches the student in developing and delivering brief public remarks focused on his or her perspective on the arts’ role in education.

Celebrate and foster educational and artistic excellence in America’s public schools and communities. AEP presents the awardees’s art program with an official certificate of recognition for excellence in arts education as demonstrated by the Young Artist and a donation for art supplies.

Recognize the “network of support”–parents, educators and schools–that contribute to student success. The awardee’s parents and teacher receive special recognition at the AEP Forum.


The 2014 AEP Young Artist Award is Supported by:

WQED Pittsburgh