SARASOTA, FL – Derric Gobourne, a talented teen who has danced with Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe for several years, has been named a YoungArts Finalist, joining nearly 700 outstanding teenage artists from 40 states who will receive awards, mentorship and professional development opportunities. Gobourne, who was named a Finalist in dance/hip hop, will participate in 36th annual National YoungArts Week in Miami, January 8-15, 2017.
Selected from the largest pool of applicants to date, Gobourne has been recognized for his outstanding artistic achievements and joins the nation’s most promising young artists from across the literary, visual, design and performing arts. Winners receive awards, including cash prizes of up to $10,000, opportunities to participate in YoungArts programs nationwide and engage with renowned mentors, and guidance in taking important steps toward achieving their artistic goals.
Gobourne, 17, made his first appearance as the talented Little Stevie Wonder in WBTT’s 2014 summer show, Best of Stevie Wonder; he can currently be seen in WBTT’s production of Black Nativity. He is a senior at Manatee High School, is a self-taught musician, and has his sights set on becoming a professional entertainer. Florida audiences may have seen him at various community functions as a performer or as a Michael Jackson impersonator.
“There are so many talented young artists in this community who would, without WBTT, have little or no opportunity to hone their craft,” said WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs. “The most satisfying aspect of my job is seeing talented young artists develop their skills and achieve success. Derric is a supremely talented, hard-working and truly delightful young man – I am thrilled to see him earn this honor and can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!”
Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, the 2017 winners represent the top 9% of applications. Of this year’s 691 winners, some have been awarded for excellence in multiple disciplines at various levels. Altogether, 713 awards have been attributed; just 166 – including Gobourne – have been named Finalists, the organization’s highest honor.
National YoungArts Week aims to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and community while offering participants the guidance needed to prepare for the next stage of their artistic development. During the intensive, week-long and all-inclusive program, artists across 10 disciplines participate in master classes and workshops with internationally recognized leaders in their field. Throughout the week, Finalists’ work will be further adjudicated to determine additional award levels.
The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and nurture the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts, and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development. Through a wide range of annual programs, regular performances, and partnerships with some of the nation’s leading cultural institutions, YoungArts aspires to create a strong community of alumni and a platform for a lifetime of encouragement, opportunity and support.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:
The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast. The mission is to produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience and attract diverse audiences while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.