Contact:           Cile Montgomery, lookthinkmake
                   (512) 657-7483 /

                      The Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Cultural Trust
                       Award Arts Education Grants to Outstanding Student Artists

AUSTIN, Texas – April 2, 2012 – The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and the Texas Cultural Trust are proud to
announce the 2012 class of Young Masters, a joint initiative between the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and the
Texas Cultural Trust, recognizing excellence in 8th through 11th graders in dance, literary arts, media arts/film, music,
musical theatre, theatre and visual arts. Only 15 students were selected from applicants across the state for this highly
competitive arts education grant.

The state’s most talented young artists receive the title of “Young Master” and are awarded grants of $2,500 per year for
two years to pursue advanced study in their artistic discipline. The program nurtures our rising stars to become legends of
tomorrow and creates a mentoring relationship between student and teacher. This gifted group of 15 students represents the
sixth class of Young Masters. The Trust and TCA have given 188 grants to 89 previous Young Masters, awarding $470,000
in arts education grants to aspiring artists over the past eleven years.

“The Young Masters program was created as a way to recognize and support young people pursuing the dream of becoming
prominent Texan artists of the next generation,” said TCA Executive Director Gary Gibbs. “These young artists earned the
Young Masters title because of their outstanding artistic ability, talent and dedication to developing their knowledge in their
chosen discipline. We congratulate their accomplishment.”

The 15 students chosen to be in the 2012 class of Young Masters include:
Eric Bowser, Music (Violin), Regional Catholic High School                                            Center Point
Brendan Carrillo, Music (Double Bass), Midway High School                                             Waco
Michelle Garcia, Dance, High School for the Performing & Visual Arts                                  Cypress
Mia Gerachis, Musical Theatre, Episcopal High School                                                  Houston
Christian Kay, Music (Cello), Kings Academy Christian School                                          Tyler
Reagan Lukefahr, Theatre, High School for the Performing & Visual Arts                                Houston
Mason Manning, Dance, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts               McKinney
Cesar Martinez, Media Arts / Film, International School of the Americas                               San Antonio
Ani Mayo, Dance, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts                    Plano
Annyston Pennington, Literature, Amarillo High School                                                 Amarillo
Shilpa Sadagopan, Music (Voice), High School for the Performing & Visual Arts                         Pearland
Eun "Susan" Seo, Visual Arts, Colleyville Heritage High School                                        Euless
Michael Stromile, Dance, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts            Dallas
Morgan Tao, Visual Arts, Alvin High School                                                            Rosharon
Laurel Thornburg, Visual Arts, High School for the Performing & Visual Arts                           Houston
“The Texas Cultural Trust is excited to recognize such a gifted group of young artists,” said Trust Chair Karen R. Oswalt.
“I’m pleased that our support can help these students pursue their dreams, by allowing them to continue their artistic
training and further their creative disciplines.”

In order to be considered for the arts education grant, students must be U.S. citizens living in Texas and participating in a
school-based program, a summer institute, a specialized course of study, or private lessons from a qualified professional
instructor. Students must also maintain passing grades in all academic areas.

Young Masters were selected by a citizen panel of experts from across the state. The selection criteria for the Young
Masters art education grants include artistic excellence, the level of potential, the level of commitment and the quality of
each student’s proposed plan of action.

The Young Masters program is made possible through the generous support of the contributors listed below.
Sponsors: Texas Women for the Arts ● Shell Oil ● Susie & John Adams ● Anita & Truman Arnold ● Lt. Governor &
Mrs. David Dewhurst ● Dawn & Harry Leatherwood ● Karen & Charles Matthews ● Frost Bank ● Sandra & Bill
Gilliland ● Guillermo Nicolas ● The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University ● Judy & Kirk Robison ● Dian &
Harlan Stai ● Suann & AJ Waight ● Sherrill & Roger Winter ● Janice & Spencer Youngblood

Founders: AT&T ● Applied Materials ● Anheuser Busch ● BNSF Railway ● Emerson ● The Honorable David Dewhurst
● Ray C. Fish Foundation ● Mrs. Gene Jones ● Mr. George Mitchell ● Mrs. W.D. Noel ● Debbie & John Montford of the
Plum Foundation ● Raytheon

Media Sponsors: Texas Monthly ● LookThinkMake

About The Texas Commission on the Arts
TCA was organized in 1965 by the Texas Legislature to develop a receptive climate for the arts in Texas. TCA supports a
diverse and innovative arts community in Texas, throughout the nation and internationally by providing resources to
enhance economic development, arts education, cultural tourism and artist sustainability initiatives. For more information
on TCA and its programs, please visit

About the Texas Cultural Trust
Established in 1995, the Texas Cultural Trust is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire, integrate, and
illuminate the arts in Texas. The Trust’s goal is to provide leadership to promote and highlight the importance of the arts in
educating our children and sustaining our vibrant Texas economy. Supporting the arts ensures Texas’ cultural and
economic advantage for the future. For more information please visit


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