A few years ago, the people at the Educational Testing Service, which administers college entrance exams to high school kids, realized that while athletes and scholars were getting plenty of scholarships, artsy types weren't doing as well. So they started a national competition to encourage the arts among the young, and last year Miami shipping and real estate magnate Ted Arison funded the whole shebang to the tune of $5 million. As a result, there were 3,814 applications from all over the nation this year, and 132 young artists went to Miami for a week of competition, seminars and fun in January. Fourteen Washington-area youths returned with awards ranging from $500 to $3,000, plus a strong sense that they may be able to pursue careers in the arts. Winners from the Washington area were: Kevin A. Berlin, 17, of Potomac, a painter, who did self-portraits, landscapes and nudes for the competition: "My work has a lot of emotion in it, a lot of feeling . The competition was sort of a turning point for me because, until now, I didn't think it was legitimate for me to spend my life in the field of visual arts. Besides the fact that it's not traditional, I just couldn't believe that you could do something that you enjoyed doing. That sounds like the definition of sin or something." Berlin won $3,000 in the competition, and plans to spend it on an art-lover's holiday in Italy and Greece this spring. Rosalyn E. Coleman, 17, of the District of Columbia, an actress and one of three students at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts to win awards in Miami. "I'm interested in acting and directing and writing," she said. " I particularly like political theater . I think theater that's really important and makes a statement is best ." Coleman also likes traditional and experimental theater. And she writes poetry. Steven J. Patti, 18, of Fairfax. "I started playing the violin when I was 5," he said. "My grandfather was a violinist, so my parents really wanted to start me on it early. He was from Boston, and he really taught me all the way up. He had his own dance orchestra." Patti loves the violin because "it's the most direct way of putting your feelings into sound. You can really make the violin speak and sing." Rachel J. Pastan, 17, of Potomac, a short-story writer and poet whose mother is poet Linda Pastan. Rachel said she has been strongly influenced by Gabriel Garcia Marquez's powerful, mystical novel, "One Hundred Years of Solitude." "I thought it was the most wonderful thing that I've ever read. The magic added something that I've never seen in American or English literature . There's a richness to the language and a newness to the sort of fantastical magic that I found very exciting. Very exciting." Debra A. Seddon, 17, of Rockville, who does sculpture, paintings and drawings. In one, "I had these V-8 juice cans, a different bunch of cans, varying from 10 percent to 100 percent natural, and they were growing out of plant stalks, and the 10 percent natural was 10 percent alive and so on . I also like to do soft sculpture, sort of like a stuffed animal. I sculpt with cloth , sew it and mend it together, make people and animals . people almost life size . and stuff it with stuffing so they're sort of like huge dolls. I did a Leonardo da Vinci with a wrinkled face."

And: From the District, George W. Dick and Terrence R. Riggins (both theater); Maryland, Page N. Darrow of Bethesda, Emily T. Ennulat of Silver Spring, Robert H. Gould of Wheaton, Timothy J. Jeffs of Rockville, Mark D. Matcho of Bethesda (all visual arts), and Catherine A. Wiley of Clarksburg (writing); Virginia, Cynthia R. Finks of McLean (music), John C. Wood of Chantilly (writing), and Jeffrey W. Work of Falls Church (music).