The Awards

National Medalists at Maker Prom during National Events in New York City.

Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 visual arts and literary arts organizations across the country to bring the Awards to local communities. Teens in grades 7–12 (ages 13 and up) apply in 28 categories of art and writing. In 2020, students submitted nearly 320,000 works of art and writing to the Scholastic Awards.

Submissions are juried by luminaries in the visual and literary arts, some of whom are past award recipients. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Voices & Visions Nominations are celebrated within their communities through regional exhibitions and ceremonies. Gold Key works are then judged nationally by an impressive panel of creative–industry experts to receive National Medals, including Gold Medals, Silver Medals, American Voices & Visions Medals, Gold Medal and Silver with Distinction Portfolio Medals, and direct scholarships. National Medalists are recognized in part at the National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Regional Awards

Gold Key
The very best works submitted to regional programs. Gold Key works are automatically considered for national-level recognition.

Silver Key
Stand-out works submitted to regional programs that demonstrate exceptional ability.

Honorable Mention
Accomplished works submitted to regional programs showing great skill and potential.

American Voices & Visions Nominees
Five works, from across all categories and grades, are selected from those earning Gold Keys as the “Best-of-Show” for each regional program as nominees for the American Voices & Visions Medals.

National Awards

Gold Medal
The most outstanding works in the nation.

Silver Medal
Works demonstrating high honors on the national level.

American Voices & Visions Medals
One work from each region, from the five American Voices & Visions Nominees, will earn an American Visions & Voices Medal.

Gold Medal & Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolios
Seniors with outstanding portfolios are recognized with Gold Medal Portfolio and Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio Awards. These honors include scholarships.

Direct Scholarships
Additional awards and scholarships are presented through the support of our sponsors.