Washington Youth Arts Leadership

(WAYAL) Program

Applications closed for the 2023-2024 cohort.

What is WAYAL?

The Washington Youth Arts Leadership (WAYAL) Program is a yearly cohort of youth and young adults (ages 16-19) from across Washington State. Young artists in the program explore arts and arts administration careers with mentors in the field. Youth leaders receive a stipend for their time and input.

What does the WAYAL cohort do?

  • Explore career pathways in the arts and cultural sector.
  • Refine multimedia communication skills.
  • Engage with communities as an artist and critical thinker.
  • Gain understanding of the creative economy, arts funding, and related policy.
  • Build statewide youth-led community in the arts.

Important dates

  • Application Opens: May 1, 2023
  • Application Deadline: July 16, 2023, at 5:00 pm
  • Notification to WAYAL cohort members: August 16, 2023
  • Cohort virtual retreat: September date TBD (2 hours)
  • WAYAL Program: September 2023 – June 2024

About this Program

Applicants to the WAYAL Program must be:

  • Between the age of 16-19 (at time of application).
  • A Washington State resident.
  • Engaged in the arts (an artist!) beyond school-related assignments.
  • Interested in building leadership skills.
  • Interested in building community with other young artists across the state.
  • Able to attend (9) monthly 2-hour seminars and (3) events throughout the year (all meetings and events are paid and held online).
  • Interested in receiving mentorship from arts and cultural professionals

Evaluation and Scoring Panel

A panel of artists and educators evaluate eligible applications to the WA Youth Arts Leadership (WAYAL) Program. Panelists use scoring criteria to give a numerical score to each application. An application’s final score is the combined average of all panelists’ scores. Top scoring applications from each ArtsWA-defined region are selected for the WAYAL program.

Panelists will assign each application a score between 1 -30 using the evaluation and point system below. 30 points is the highest possible score for this application.

  1. Aspiring Artist (15 points possible)
  • Consistent engagement with art making/creative practices. (5 points possible)
  • Awareness of artist mentors past or present. (5 points possible)
  • Interest in exploring creative careers. (5points possible)
  1. Community Engagement (15 points possible)
  • Experience engaging in collaborative practices. (5 points possible)
  • Interest in leadership. (5 points possible)
  • Interest in exploring equity efforts in the arts and education field. (5 points possible)


Contact Us! Austin Sargent, WAYAL Program Coordinator, at 360-485-1277 or austin.sargent@arts.wa.gov.

Meet the 2022-2023 WAYAL Cohort!

Hi, I’m Devika Ajith and I will be attending the University of Washington in the fall where I hope to major in design. I love making art that shares my culture and I believe that art is the best way for one to express themselves. So, I am incredibly thrilled to be part of this council where I hope to grow myself as an artist and make a difference with other artists!

Hi! My name is Lola Eden. I’ve been doing community theater since I was 8 years old, and now I’m the Public Relations manager of my high school drama club…I’m so passionate about finding opportunities to spread the power of the arts to children all over my community and state, which is why I am so excited to be a part of this program!

Hello, my name is Julia Higheagle and I attend Shoreline Community College with an undecided major. I am also Chehalis and Nez Perce. Gathering traditional materials, preparing, and weaving them is very important to me because it makes me feel in tune with my ancestors. I am also a competitive baton twirler, a screenwriter, and illustrator. I love to create stories, work with characters, and mold them into something that I am proud of.

My name is Naomi Huang and I am a senior at Sammamish High School. Art has always been a constant in my life and has been something I’ve relied on to express personal experiences, feelings, passions, and creativity. I am so excited to be a part of this year’s WAYAL program and to learn about how to improve accessibility and opportunities in the arts within my local community!

Hi! I’m Finn Gallagher. My favorite medium of art is drawing. I love to doodle and let my thoughts spill out onto the page whenever I can. Right now, my main goal career-wise is to become a youth art teacher of some sort. Whether it be at a school teaching a class or at a gallery teaching art camps, I would enjoy fostering the creative minds of our future generations.