National Writing Project

Calling All Creative Teens: Be Bold, Claim Your Place in Art & Writing History and Earn Scholarships to Support Your Talent

The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers—with the help from Writing Project sites and state networks—works to identify, motivate, and recognize the next generation of artists and writers.

For Immediate Release


Berkeley, CA, September 18, 2012 — The 90th annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is now open and calling all creative teens, grades 7-12, to "be bold" and submit their work for the opportunity to gain recognition and scholarships. The Awards program is the nation's longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts, and has an impressive legacy of being the first to acknowledge creative talent.

"We take seriously our mission to support today's talented students—the future professionals, creators and innovators," said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the national nonprofit organization that presents the Awards. "We are honored to list famed artists and writers such as Andy Warhol and Sylvia Plath among our alumni, but we are just as proud of those who applied their talent for bold, original thought and creative problem-solving to successful careers in fields such as cancer research, astrophysics, toy design, community planning, and teaching."

Students can submit their work for blind adjudication in any of 28 categories, including film and animation, video game design, poetry, painting, sculpture, fashion design, journalism, photography and science fiction. A Creative Challenge called "Future New," new to the 2013 Awards in honor of its 90th anniversary, will encourage boundary-breaking, conceptual or socially-driven works that incorporate new technologies to make innovative art. All pieces are evaluated on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice, first regionally through the Alliance's 115 affiliates, and then nationally by a panel of renowned industry experts. Last year's jurors included writer David Sedaris, illustrators Edward Sorel, cartoonist Roz Chast, and graphic designer Michael Beirut. (Sorel and Beirut are also alumnae of the program, having received Scholastic Awards when they were in high school.)

Established in 1923 by Maurice R. Robinson, the founder of Scholastic Inc., the Awards program was designed "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." A bold idea at the time, this mission is still relevant today, as proven by the more than 700,000 submissions the Alliance has received over the past five years alone.

Each year, fifteen graduating high school seniors are awarded a $10,000 cash scholarship as part of the Portfolio Gold Medal Award. Partnerships with more than 60 colleges and universities make nearly $5 million in scholarships available to winning high school seniors, with additional cash awards offered to students in all grades, as well as teachers.

The 2013 national Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners will be announced in the spring. In the meantime, the Alliance will release The Best Teen Writing of 2012 and will kick-off this year's ART.WRITE.NOW traveling exhibition. Additionally, in partnership with the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alliance will announce the inaugural class of the National Student Poets Program, the nation's highest honor for youth poets which is open exclusively to winners of national Scholastic Awards in poetry. These students will serve as national poetry ambassadors for one year beginning on September 23, 2013 when they are named at a ceremony in the Special Programs Pavillion at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC.

The Alliance is grateful for its sponsors, who generously provide funds to support and produce the Awards: Scholastic Inc., the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset, the New York Times, the AMD Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Blick Art Materials, Ovation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the New York Life Foundation, 3D Systems, Bloomberg,, the Bernstein Family Foundation, ShurTech Duck Tape®, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and contributions from its Board and individuals donors. For more information about the Alliance, visit and explore the newly-launched interactive timeline, which allows visitors to view alumni, jurors, and highlights of winning works and invites alumni to reconnect and share their stories.

Additional details about the Awards can be found in the Media Room .


The National Writing Project (NWP) is a nationwide network of educators working together to improve the teaching of writing in the nation’s schools and in other settings. NWP provides high-quality professional development programs to teachers in a variety of disciplines and at all levels, from early childhood through university. Through its nearly 200 university-based sites serving all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National Writing Project develops the leadership, programs, and research needed for teachers to help students become successful writers and learners. For more information, visit

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