“…to give those high school students who demonstrate superior talent and achievement in things of the spirit and of the mind at least a fraction of the honors and rewards accorded to their athletic classmates for demonstrating their bodily skills.” –Maurice R. Robinson, Founder
Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provided opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated. Each year, increasing numbers of teens participate in the program, and become a part of our community—young artists and writers, filmmakers and photographers, poets and sculptors, video game artists and science fiction writers—along with countless educators who support and encourage the creative process.
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Awards give students opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships. Students across America entered nearly 320,000 original works in 2020 in 29 different categories of art and writing.
Through the Awards, teens in grades 7–12 (ages 13 and up) from public, private, or home schools can apply in 28 categories of art and writing for their chance to earn scholarships and have their works exhibited and published. Beyond the Awards, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers produces a number of programs to support creative students and their educators, including the Art.Write.Now.Tour, the National Student Poets Program, the Scholastic Awards Summer Workshops and Scholastic Awards Summer Scholarships programs, the GOLDEN Educators Residency, and much more.
Since their founding, the Awards have established an amazing track record for identifying the early promise of our nation’s most accomplished and prolific creative leaders. Alumni include artists Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein, Cy Twombly, Robert Indiana, Kay WalkingStick, Mozelle Thompson, Hughie Lee-Smith, and John Baldessari; writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Bernard Malamud, Marc Brown, Myla Goldberg, and Joyce Carol Oates; photographer Richard Avedon; actors Frances Farmer, Robert Redford, Alan Arkin, Lena Dunham, and John Lithgow; fashion designer Zac Posen; and filmmakers Stan Brakhage, Ken Burns, and Richard Linklater. Outside the arts, Awards alumni employ their creativity to be successful in any number of ways—becoming leaders in fields including journalism, medicine, finance, government and public service, the law, science, design, and more. In 2015, opportunities such as Alumni Microgrants and an Alumni Writer’s Residency were created.
Students’ entries are blindly adjudicated by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts. Many Scholastic Awards alumni have lent their expertise as jurors, including Michael Bierut, Phillip Pearlstein, Edward Sorel, Red Grooms, and Gary Panter. Other luminaries who have served as judges include Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Judy Blume, Billy Collins, Paul Giamatti, Francine Prose, Edwidge Danticat, David Sedaris, Lesley Stahl, Nikki Giovanni, Roz Chast, Wangechi Mutu, Andres Serrano, Kiki Smith, Jill Kraus, Shinique Smith, Rashid Johnson, and Waris Ahluwalia. Jurors look for works that exemplify the Awards’ core values: originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice or vision.
Today, we work with approximately 100 Affiliate Partners across the country to bring the Awards to local communities. Students are also eligible for direct scholarships, supported by a variety of generous corporations and foundations, and for special honors like the National Student Poets Program, a joint project between the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. We are also joined by our Scholarship Partners to provide additional opportunities to students.
Year after year the Scholastic Awards program grows with increased participation from students and increasing scholarships and recognition opportunities. With nearly a century of history behind us and a bright future ahead, the Awards have grown to be the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition initiative for creative teens, and the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers. Join us as a student, educator, juror, Affiliate Partner, Scholarship Partner, or supporter and claim your place within our nation’s creative legacy.
The Alliance is grateful to the generosity of the many individuals, foundations, corporations, and government agencies who support our work to create meaningful opportunities for young artists and writers. Please consider making a contribution to the future of creativity today!