Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

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The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1994, identifies teenagers with exceptional creative talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience through The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Alliance partners with more than 100 regional affiliates across the country to provide creative teens with opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication and scholarships.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards[edit]

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are the longest running, most prestigious competition and largest source of scholarships for creative teenagers in the United States. The Awards program was created in 1923 by Maurice R. "Robbie" Robinson, founder of Scholastic Corporation, and has been administered by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers since 1994. It has an impressive legacy and a noteworthy roster of past winners including Andy Warhol, Frances Farmer, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, and Joyce Carol Oates among many others.

Tom Otterness, acclaimed American sculptor, public artist and Awards alumnus is quoted saying, "Winning a Scholastic Art & Writing Award brought me from high school in Wichita, Kansas, to art school in New York City. It changed the course of my life." [1]

Established to ensure that literary and artistic talent were recognized in schools and communities across the country, the program began as a small writing contest; today, it offers recognition in 28 diverse categories including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, poetry, dramatic script, fashion, animation, and video games. The Awards are open to all 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.

Selection Process

The program is structured to identify and recognize students through regional award designations (Gold Key, Silver Key, Honorable Mention, and American Visions and Voices Nominees) and national award designations (Gold Medal, Silver Medal, American Visions and Voices Medal). Regional awards are administered by a nationwide Regional Affiliate network that includes public and private school systems, nonprofit organizations, museums, foundations, arts agencies, teacher councils and institutions of higher education that share a commitment to encouraging and building a skill-set for the creative economy.

Submission to the Awards begins in September of each year as teens submit creative works to the affiliate in their region. The most outstanding works that receive regional awards and nominations are forwarded to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers in New York City to be reviewed on a national level by panels of art and writing professionals for national award designations.

The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers gives out over a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships to top award-winning creative teens to help fund their continued education. Each year, 15 Portfolio Gold Medalists receive $10,000 awards, representing the highest level of achievement for graduating seniors. In addition, national award-winning seniors are eligible for scholarships from a network of 60-plus arts institutes, universities, colleges, and summer programs, which annually earmark well over $5 million in financial aid and scholarships 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.


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 also past Award recipients. Notable past jurors include Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, David Sedaris, Judy Blume, Bill Murray, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Mary Ellen Mark, William Saroyan, Frank McCourt, Kiki Smith, George Plimpton, Esmeralda Santiago, Tatiana von Furstenberg, Madeleine L’Engle, Faith Ringgold and Billy Collins as well as alums Edward Sorel, Donald Lipski, Ned Vizzini, and Michael Bierut. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

National Celebration and Ceremony[edit]

The Scholastic Awards’ recognition of outstanding creative teens culminates in a year-end event in New York City each June where winners meet their creative peers, view and read the work of other exceptional teens from across the nation, and engage in creative development workshops. All national winners are invited to receive their medals at an Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall and attend the Art.Write.Now. National Exhibition opening featuring top national Award-winning works from that year.

Art.Write.Now. National Exhibition[edit]

Hosted at renowned New York City venues, this annual exhibition showcases a selection of national Award-winning work every June for approximately three weeks. The exhibition highlights the incredible breadth of talented teen artists and writers to New York City residents and visitors, and promotes the importance of supporting arts education.

Art.Write.Now. Tour[edit]

In October 2010, the Alliance launched the Art.Write.Now. Tour to expose audiences nationwide to the most stunning examples of work from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. These incredible emerging artists, writers and filmmakers were selected as the "best in the country" by top professionals in the visual and literary arts. Since its inception, the tour has visited Fort Wayne, IN; Dallas, TX; Seattle, WA; Pasadena, CA; Chicago, IL; Portland, OR; Philadelphia, PA; and New Orleans, LA.

Art Categories[edit]

  • Architecture
  • Ceramics & Glass
  • Comic Art
  • Design
  • Digital Art
  • Drawing
  • Fashion
  • Film & Animation
  • Jewelry
  • Mixed Media
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Video Game Design
  • Art Portfolio (for graduating seniors only)

Writing Categories[edit]

  • Dramatic Script
  • Flash Fiction
  • Humor
  • Journalism
  • Novel Writing
  • Personal Essay/Memoir
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Poetry
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Short Story
  • Writing Portfolio (for graduating seniors only)


  • AMD Game Changer Award
  • Best in Grade (B.I.G.) Award
  • Creativity & Citizenship Award
  • Duck Tape Brand Award
  • Duck Tape Mixed Media Award
  • The "Future New" Award
  • New York Life Award
  • Ovation Film & Animation Award
  • Ovation Inspired Teacher Award

Program Supporters[edit]

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is supported by Scholastic Inc, the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset, The New York Times, the AMD Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Dick Blick Art Materials, Ovation, 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, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and contributions from its Board and many other individuals and companies who support our mission.

Notable alumni[edit]



External links[edit]