MIAMI (CBSMiami) — This week, South Florida is home to more than 148 of the most talented teenage artists from around the country chosen to participate in National YoungArts Week.

It’s a week of master classes, exhibitions, public performances and life changing experiences for high school students.

Now in its 39th year, National YoungArts Week is about taking the most accomplished young artists from around the nation in ten forms of disciplines from visual arts, theater, music, dance, voice and more and bring them to master classes and exhibitions at the New World Center campus.

Finalists are between 15 and 18 years old.

“We received over 7,000 applicants,” said Artistic Programs Director Rebekah Lanae Lengel. “We have 148 finalists with us this week from 30 states, in all disciplines of the art, including classical music, dance, theater, design, film and more.”

Rebekah was a YoungArts Winner in 2000.

“I received a letter from them 20 years ago and it told me I was an artist and it gave me direction and purpose and to be  able to come and offer that same opportunity to the next generation of artists is amazing,” she said.

At the Miami City Ballet Tuesday morning, student dancers learned from master teachers and former alumni. They will perform on Wednesday evening at the New World Center.

Vernon Scott heads up the selection panel for the dancers.

“This is the moment where they are finding themselves, this is beginning of their journey,” said Scott. “There are artists we will see later and YoungArts follows them the whole way.”

Kailey Wortonstoff, 16, is a contemporary dancer from Wellington, while Rush Carson is studying choreography at the New World School in Miami.

“The concept was intimidating,” said Carson, who is one of the finalists. “But it’s a dream to be with this group of artists.”

Wortonstoff agrees.

“It helps you helps you realize, ‘I’m an artist.’  It opens doors and makes you realize you want to go to college and I cannot wait to go to college and expand my knowledge.”

Artists such as Kerry Washington, Viola Davis and Josh Grobin are just some notable YoungArts alumni.

The program is all about the future.

“I think the most important thing that we do is cultivate the next generation of artists and creatives who really will be creating the world we will be living in for the future,” said Rebekah.

National YoungArts Week is on through Sunday with performances every night. Tickets run $15.00 and most are held at The New World Center, while others are at the YoungArts Building.

Click here for more information.

Lisa Petrillo