The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization established in 1994, identifies teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience through The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Alliance works with more than 100 regional affiliates to provide creative teens with opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships. The Alliance also recognizes teacher excellence through awards and professional development workshops.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
In 2010, over 77,000 students in grades 7 – 12 submitted more than 165,000 creative works. Founded in 1923, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the longest running, most prestigious competition and largest source of scholarships for creative teenagers in the United States. Over the last 87 years, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have:
* Encouraged more than 13 million students
* Recognized more than 9 million young artists and writers
* Made available more than $25 million in awards and scholarships
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards were established by Scholastic Inc.’s founder, Maurice R. Robinson, to ensure that literary and artistic talent were recognized in their schools and communities. The program began as a small writing contest; today, they offer recognition in 30 diverse categories of art and writing. The Awards are open to students in grades 7 through 12 from public, private and home schools throughout the U.S. (and its territories), as well as American-run schools abroad and community programs serving eligible student populations.
The program is structured to identify and recognize students through regional award designations (including Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention) and national designations (Gold Medal, Silver Medal, American Visions and Voices). Regional awards are administered by a national Regional Affiliate network that includes school systems, nonprofit organizations, museums, foundations, arts agencies, teacher councils and institutions of higher education that share a commitment to identifying emerging artists and writers in their communities.
Submission to the Awards begins in the fall of each year as teens submit creative works to the affiliate in their region. The most outstanding works of art and writing from each region are forwarded to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers in New York City to be reviewed on a national level. Panels of professional jurors review thousands of works of art and manuscripts to select approximately 1,300 national award recipients. 15 Portfolio Gold Medalists receive $10,000 awards, representing the highest level of achievement for graduating seniors. Seniors who earn top honors in the Awards are eligible for scholarships at more than 60 colleges and art institutes who annually earmark funds for Scholastic Award winners.
The Scholastic Art Awards are also recognized by the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (a consortium of leading art and design colleges in the U.S.) as an effective way for artistic students to develop successful portfolios for college admission.
Selection Panels of The Awards
The selection panels for both regional and national levels of The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are composed of artists, writers, curators, critics, educators and professionals from the nation’s leading creative industries, some of whom are past award recipients. Notable past jurors include Robert Frost, William Saroyan, Frank McCourt, Kiki Smith, George Plimpton, Korva Coleman, Esmeralda Santiago, Tatiana von Furstenberg, Bill Murray, Judy Blume, Langston Hughes, Madeleine L’Engle, Faith Ringgold and Billy Collins. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.
The National Celebration Events
The Alliance’s recognition of outstanding young artists and writers culminates in a year-end event in New York City where winners meet their creative peers, view and read the work of other exceptional teens from across the nation, and are introduced to professionals in New York City’s creative industries through panels and interactive workshops. All national award winners are invited attend an Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall, an exhibition opening of student works and creative development workshops.
National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Teen Exhibition
Hosted at renowned New York City venues, this annual exhibition showcases the creative vision of teenagers with exceptional potential in an exhibit of poetry, short stories, paintings, drawings, sculpture, mixed media, video games, ceramics, photography and more.
Creative Industries Workshops
National award winners are invited to attend creative development workshops as part of National Events. In 2010, the Alliance hosted workshops in venues throughout New York City that introduced students to playwrights, artists, editors, writers, photographers and other creative professionals. Workshops covered topics such as creating video games, film production, finalizing an art portfolio, the future of the publishing industry and behind-the-scenes tours at The New Yorker, Rolling Stone Teen Vogue, and HarperCollins. Teachers also participated and had the option of attending specialized workshops and professional development panels.
Visual Arts Categories
* Comic Art
* Ceramics & Glass
* Digital Art
* Film & Animation
* Mixed Media
* Video Games
* Art Portfolio
* Photography Portfolio
* Dramatic Script
* Personal Essay/Memoir
* Persuasive Writing
* Novel Writing
* Science Fiction/Fantasy
* Short Story
* Short Short Story
* General Writing Portfolio
* Nonfiction Portfolio
Writing and Art Categories
* Creativity and Citizenship
* New York Life Award (Healing and Art)
The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is supported by Scholastic Inc., the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Command Web Offset, The New York Times, Ovation, Dick Blick Co., AMD Foundation, Amazon.com, Half Price Books, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs and many other individuals and companies who support our mission.
Young Artists Program
The Young Artist Awards Program of The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is funded through a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. The program aims to sustain and raise the level of achievement of low-income students who receive Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Young Artist Awards Program encourages low-income, high-achieving students in grades 7-11 to take their work to the next level by providing them with tools, resources and additional opportunities to help them think critically about their work.
In 2010, the Alliance granted scholarships (up to $2,500 per student) to allow 90 low-income, high-achieving teens to attend summer art and writing intensives. Some participating institutions include Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, The Putney School, Parsons Pre-College, School of Visual Arts, UVA Young Writers Workshop, Kenyon Young Writers Workshop, Columbia University Pre-College, and NYU Pre-College.