2015 Press Release


JUNE 17, 2015

2015 Competition Winners


The National Society of Arts and Letters awarded over $50,000 for Drama, Art, Voice, and Literature to outstanding young performers in the National Drama Competition, the Winston Visual Art and Voice Competitions, the CalArts Award, and the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio.   Awards were made at the Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, May 26-30, 2015.


Five outstanding young winners in the National Drama Competition are:

Jonathan Michael Majors, representing the Chautauqua Chapter, won the National Society of Arts and Letters First Place Award of $10,000. Mr. Majors holds a BFA from the School of Arts at the University of North Carolina and is currently attending Yale University as a Master of Fine Arts Candidate in the Yale School of Drama. He has received the MFA Lloyd Richards Scholarship and the SAFD Recommended Certification.


Lara Anderson Dohner, representing the Saint Louis Chapter,won the Dorothy Nicholson Stabell Memorial Second Place Award of $8,000. Ms. Dohner holds a BFA in Acting fromThe Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in St. Louis. She received the Gold Award in 2010-2011 from the Iowa High School State Speech Association. Ms. Dohner has studied with Paul Mason Barnes, David Caldwell, Tamilla Woodard, Milissa Rain Anderson, John McCluggage, Doug Finlayson and makes her home Dubuque, Iowa.


Mitchell Moyeahe Edwards, representing the Pittsburgh Chapter, won the Past President Jack Masters Third Place Award of $6,000. Mr. Edwards holds a BA in Fine Arts fromCarnegie Mellon University. He has had the pleasure of working with teachers and directors from Carnegie Mellon University such as: Phylicia Rashad, Don Wadsworth, Barbara MacKkenzie-Wood, Anthony McKay, Tami Dixon, Cameron Knight, Pamela Berlin. Mr. Edwards resides in Philadelphia, PA.


Monique Denise Ingram, representing the Washington D.C. Chapter, won the St. Louis ChapterHonorable Mention Award of $2,000. Ms. Ingram holds anAssociate of Arts degree from Baltimore City Community College. She has studied with Donald Hicken, Richard Pilcher, Denise Diggs, and Tazewell Thompson.


Ian Damont Martin, representing the Bloomington Chapter, won the Doni Lystra and Denna Shiben Honorable Mention Award of $2,000. Mr. Martin is currently working on his BA in Theatre and Drama from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He received theHagarty Ment Award and an Art Diploma, School for Creative & Performing Arts in Cincinnati, OH. Mr. Martin worked with Fontaine Syer, Dale McFadden, Lee Cromwell, David Roth, Mary Lenning, Gina Kleesattel at the School for Creative & Performing Arts.


Judges for the competition: Rick Dildine, the Executive Director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has had an extensive career in the performing arts, including as Artistic Director of the Stephen Foster Theatre in Kentucky.  Geoffrey Soffer is a talent manager and producer with a boutique roster of actors, writers and directors.  He was the casting director of “Ugly Betty” and “The Beautiful Life,” has lectured at several universities, and was also a judge for the NSAL 2009 Drama Competition in Washington.  Molly Smith has been the Artistic Director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. since 1998.  She has directed a multitude of plays across the U.S. and Canada and positioned Arena Stage as a national center for American artists.  Elmore James is one of the most versatile artists working today.  His career spans opera, dance and Broadway in the U.S. and Europe, and includes teaching stints at six universities.


The National Society of Arts and Letters also provides scholarships to talented students to attend the California Institute of the Arts. Dana Ljubicic, a third year winner, received the NSAL Scholarship of $5,800. Dana, an undergraduate student, presented her solo show, Displacement, in November 2014. A highlight of this year’s annual meeting was a video Ms. Ljubicic created to thank the Society. This scholarship enables talented young artists to study at CalArts and reduces their burden of educational debt.


Amy Nicole Broadbent, representing the Washington D.C. Chapter, who placed first in The National Society of Arts and Letters’ National Shirley Rabb Winston Voice Scholarship Competition, performed for the organization’s Annual Meeting. Broadbent is a 22-year-old resident of Rockville, MD, and December 2014 graduate of the University of Maryland. She was awarded a $3,000 scholarship for advanced musical training at the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar, summer session.


Catherine Chen, representing the Florida East Coast Chapter, a seventeen-year-old artist from Wellington, FL, is the 2015 winner of the Naomi Winston Scholarship in Two-Dimensional Art. She plans to attend the five-year Brown University/RISD Dual Degree Program that is offered in conjunction with the Rhode Island School of Design. Her $2,000 Winston scholarship enables her to study at the prestigious California Summer School for the Arts.


Adriane Tharp, a 2015 graduate from high school at the Alabama School of Fine Arts as a creative writing major, will attend the Iowa Young Writers Studio this summer on NSAL’s first annual scholarship for this Literature event. Her recommender says “Adriane is determined to push her writing and has the stamina to do so.” NSAL has contributed the $2,250 fee and funding for roundtrip airfare.


The Musical Theater Competition and Annual Meeting will be held in Phoenix, AZ May 17-22, 2016.


Dorothy Lincoln-Smith

National President, NSAL