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AHHS Student Recognized Nationally for Photography, Invited to Participate in Prestigious Arts Program

Sarah Branch, a senior at Fort Worth ISD’s Arlington Heights High School is a 2020 National YoungArts Foundation honorable mention winner.

She submitted 10 mixed-media pieces to the YoungArts program – a series exhibiting humanity, illness, relationships, loss and “other situations people encounter in their lives,” she said. sarahbranch

To celebrate her artistic achievement, Sarah received a medallion and an all-expense paid trip to participate in the prestigious YoungArts regional program, February 25- March 1 in Miami, which offers emerging artists “master classes, workshops and mentorship from leading artists in their fields,” according to officials with the organization. Her mixed-media photography will also be exhibited at the event.

“It is an honor.  I did not expect to win anything and was completely shocked,” Sarah said. “Having placed as honorable mention puts me in the top 9% of the thousands of artists who submitted work across the nation. 

“It was an incredible moment of validation to be recognized on a national stage. It wasn’t my mom or my favorite teacher being nice. My work was noticed and admired by a nationally recognized organization that had no vested interest in my success. Nonetheless, it saw something in me that was worth investing in and supporting.”

Photography was an art form Sarah picked up a few years ago after receiving a professional camera for Christmas. Experimenting with the camera, she developed a knack and love for it, she said.

“The more I experimented the more I became interested in the craft,” Sarah said. “I am drawn to taking photos of people.  Non posed pictures.  I enjoy capturing the person behind the person.” 

Sarah is a student of Heights photography teacher Andrew Giles, who she thanks for “his unwavering support and endless encouragement” in her journey as an artist. She added that she’s appreciative to the fine arts opportunities offered by the District.

The AHHS senior joins 686 other emerging artists in the nation from 40 states recognized for their work in visual, literary and performing arts and invited to participate in one of the organization’s prestigious regional programs this spring. Emerging artists selected to participate in the regional programs are selected by “an esteemed discipline-specific panel of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process,” upon completing a competitive application process open to U.S.-based artists ages 15-18 or in the 10th- 12th grades, according to a YoungArts statement.

 “Every year I am reminded that extraordinary artistry is ageless and the 2020 YoungArts award winners—all teenage artists—have done it again. This group of emerging talent represents the inspiring potential of the next generation of artists,” said Sarah Arison, YoungArts board chair in a statement.  “We look forward to welcoming them to the YoungArts community of leading artists and are thrilled to support their work from this early stage and throughout their careers.”

As a recognized award winner, Sarah receives ongoing support from the organization, is eligible for fellowships, symposia and residencies in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and abroad; microgrants; presentation opportunities at major art institutions across the country and opportunities to work with renowned artistic directors and curators.

For more details about YoungArts, visit


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