AEP 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 Annual Convenings. The Youth in Arts Program consists of the Young Artist Award, and student performing and learning experiences.

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 Annual Convening.  

Meet the 2017 Young Artist Award Recipient, Abby Huston 

Abby Huston is a senior at Middletown High School in Myersville, Md., and a 2017 Maryland State Award of Merit winner. She has played the piano since seventh grade and enjoys performing classical music. Abby received a National PTA Reflections Award for the 2016-17 “What is Your Story?” theme for her artwork, The Hue of Music, pictured on the front cover of this program.

Title: The Hue of Music  Medium: Acrylic and Sharpie markers

YOUNG ARTIST INTERVIEW Tell us about your piece, The Hue of Music, and what it means to you. In this piece, I tried to embody all I have gone through in my life. I experienced a lot of ups and downs, and moments of self-doubt and sadness, but also moments of unexplainable joy — happiness. The piano idea helped me express what I felt, and in times of self-doubt, the piano gave me something to be confident in. When I was happy, I could share my happiness and confidence through my music.  


How did you get started in art and what is your favorite medium to practice? When I was one- or two-years-old, I would either draw on books with Sharpie markers or on my walls with crayons, so that is sort of where I started. In elementary and middle school, I took art classes and always really enjoyed them. Musically, I love the piano and it is my main instrument. For art, I really like a couple mediums; I love pencil and paper, as I like being able to erase, and I really love acrylic and watercolor. In my piece, The Hue of Music, I gave the piece in color the look of watercolors, although I painted the piece with acrylics.

What would you say to policymakers about why the arts matter in schools? Art is important in schools not only because it provides a necessary creative outlet for students, but also because there are different categories of intelligence that need to be fostered. I think we need to change the definition of smart to include art in addition to subjects like math and science. If we take away arts in schools, we narrow opportunities for students to thrive in their natural capabilities and it is important, as everyone is not the same and we all have different paths.

How do you plan on using the skills you’ve learned through art in the future? The skills I learned in art and music help me to see the world with different perspectives than others may. I can see and hear things that others may not notice. I notice a beautiful melody or a chord progression in a song, or beautiful colors in a painting. It has affected my life, such as the way I dress, the colors I wear and the colors I use to decorate my room. I want to help others to see these things too and improve their quality of life. As for college, I want to do something that will help people. I have looked into music therapy, but right now, I am still trying to figure it out.  


A Special Thanks to the National PTA Reflections® Program