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Scholastic Art & Writing Awards - Alliance for Young Artists & Writers


New York Life Award

About This Scholarship

Underwritten by the‚ÄĮNew York Life Foundation, the National New York Life Award offers $1,000 scholarships to six students whose works explore personal grief and loss. State scholarships of $500 are available to two students from each of the following states: Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, and Tennessee.

Someone I care about passed away, and it’s sometimes hard for me to talk about it. What is grief, and why should I share my story about my experiences with loss?

Grief is the feeling and reaction associated with loss. You can experience it after a loved one dies or after other major changes in your life. The death of a loved one and the grief that follows are a universal yet very unique, personal experience even in normal times.

For more than a year now, we have all experienced various kinds of loss inflicted by the pandemic, racial injustice, and political divisions. Perhaps someone you care about became sick with Covid-19, was hospitalized, and did not survive. Perhaps you wanted to be with a dying family member or friend, and could not. Perhaps you are experiencing the emotional impact of racial trauma and coping with your anger, grief, and pain. Or perhaps political divisions draw your friends and families away from you.

Sharing your story through art or writing can heal you and your community. You can be a chronicler of this time. Your unique experiences and the experiences of your community matter when we talk about the losses of the past year and the grief that washes over the globe. Grief has become a staple in our lives. If ever there was a time for you to tell your story about it, this is it.

How do I apply?

Enter your work to any category in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. At the end of your application, opt in to the New York Life Award. You will be prompted to include a short personal statement of 50 words or more about your work.

Regional deadlines are as early as December 1, 2021.


What should I write about in my personal statement?

Your personal statement should describe your experience with grief, and how your work relates to that experience. The statement should be 50 words or more. Below are prompts that may help in crafting your personal statement:

  • Tell us about the person you lost and how your memories of them inspired you to create this work.
  • Tell us about the loss you experienced. How did it impact your life and¬†self-identity, and why did you decide to create this work about it?
  • How¬†does¬†your experience with grief¬†impact your relationship with your community?
  • What was creating this work like for you emotionally?¬†Did the act of creating the work change how you feel or think about the loss¬†or how you will cope with the loss moving forward?
  • Reflecting on this last year, how have¬†isolation, loss, and uncertainty affected your view of the world?

Getting Started on Your Art or Writing Work

Our classroom resources on grief and loss can help you explore this theme.

About Our Partner

The New York Life Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement, and runs the Volunteers for Good program for New York Life employees, agents, and retirees.