US Student Named 2022 YoungArts Award Winner for Design Art

By Lindsey Kundel, Director of Communications & Marketing

Congratulations to Ray W. ('23) for being named as a 2022 YoungArts award recipient in the design art category. 

Ray is among 720 of the most accomplished young visual, literary, and performing artists throughout the country. Selected through the organization's prestigious competition, YoungArts award winners are chosen for their caliber of artistic achievement by esteemed discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process.

Ray submitted a portfolio of design works from his architectural design class with Mr. Andrew Huang including a design for a library, community center, solar-powered canopy, a reforested pavillion, and two different bus stops.

YoungArts award winners gain access to one of the most comprehensive programs for artists in the United States, in which they will have opportunities for financial, creative, and professional development support throughout their entire careers. A complete list of the 2022 winners is available online at

YoungArts award winners join a distinguished group of accomplished arts such as Daniel Arsham, Terence Blanchard, Camille A. Brown, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Amanda Gorman, Judith Hill, Jennifer Koh, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Andrew Rannells, Desmond Richardson, and Hunter Schafer.

“We are thrilled to announce this year’s YoungArts award winners—an extraordinary group of promising, accomplished young artists—and congratulate each of them on this exciting milestone in their artistic careers,” said Executive Director Jewel Malone. “YoungArts empowers artists to pursue a life in the arts beginning at the critical time when many are faced with decisions about life after high school. We are proud to support these young artists at the beginning of their journeys and look forward to becoming a resource for them at all stages of their careers.”

YoungArts awards are given in three categories: Finalist, Honorable Mention, and Merit. This year, YoungArts award winners will have the opportunity to learn from leading artists such as vocalist La Tanya Hall, visual artists Loni Johnson and Yashua Klos, and award-winning writer Dr. Joan Morgan. YoungArts award winners become eligible for exclusive creative and professional development support including a wide range of fellowships, residencies, and awards; microgrants and financial awards; virtual and in-person presentation opportunities in collaboration with major venues and cultural partners nationwide; and access to YoungArts Post, a free, private online platform for YoungArts artists to connect, collaborate and discover new opportunities.

YoungArts was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts and provide them with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers. Entrance into this prestigious organization starts with a highly competitive application process for talented artists ages 15–18, or grades 10–12 in the United States.

We recently caught up with Ray to find out more about this award-winning artist's craft and inspiration.

What do you love most about art? About design in particular?

  • I love imagining spaces where people can interact and relate to the space. Art and Design is my avenue to express my creative passions, and it is my method of self-expression to bring the figments of my imagination into reality. I believe that Art and Design’s innate ability to stimulate human emotions through its varying shapes, textures, forms, and volumes is what makes Art and Design so meaningful and exhilarating to me. 

Do you have a favorite work of graphic design/architecture or a favorite designer/architect? What do you admire most about their craft?

  • One of my favorite works of architecture, The Exchange, is designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates. The circular low-rise building features distinctive timber “threads” that wrap spontaneously around the façade. It is one of many projects that exemplify Kuma’s fascination and innovative use of wood in modern buildings. Its soft edges allow the structure to fit intimately into the environment and it deviates from the harsh nature of steel, concrete, and programmed rectangular shapes of today’s buildings. The Exchange also reflects Kuma’s philosophy on harmony: that buildings should supplement, not dominate the environment. Every work imparts the emotion of serenity and reflects a sense of value due to the structure’s connection to its environment. 

What was the inspiration behind your award-winning submission?

  • I was interested in investigating the disconnection between humans and ecology in urban landscapes, and the disappearance of the precious natural spaces around us. My works frame the potential architectural spaces have in cultivating coexistence between the “build” and nature. This theme is evidently shown in forms and spaces I design, which imitate the pathos and visual spaces of the natural world, emphasizing harmony achieved through scale and proportion.

Who are some of your artistic mentors at TAS? Do you have a favorite teacher or class that you've taken here?

  • l would like to wholeheartedly express my gratitude to Mr. Badgley and Mr. Huang for their constant positivity and guidance, whether in class or outside of class. Their thoughtful insights really helped me think unconventionally, and most importantly helped me improve my work. I wouldn’t have been able to finish my portfolio if not for their patience, waiting with me in the computer lab for my renderings to load. 

How has TAS supported your artistic dreams generally?

  • TAS offers a diverse selection of art classes. Although a lot of the works in my submission to YoungArts were created in the class AP3D and the art classes I took in Grade 9 really taught me the technical skills needed for me to be successful in the future.