The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative teens, are now accepting submissions from students across the country in grades 7–12. Presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Awards have fostered the talent of millions of students since 1923 and feature a distinguished list of alumni including Tschabalala Self, Stephen King, Kay WalkingStick, Charles White, Joyce Carol Oates, and Andy Warhol, all of whom received recognition through the program as teens. In the 2020 program year, nearly 320,000 works were submitted to regional programs, with more than 2,900 works of art and writing receiving national recognition, including more than $300,000 in direct scholarships and millions in tuition support.
To learn more about the 2021 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, or to apply, visit http://artandwriting.org.
“Artists and writers have always held important roles in our society, especially during times of crisis and change. This is a year like none we’ve known—with a global pandemic that has relegated many schools to distance learning and powerful protests for racial justice often led by a rising generation of young leaders. It feels more important than ever to showcase and encourage creative young people who dare to make art that challenges the status quo, gives us a means of escape, and reaffirms our purpose in this world,” said Christopher Wisniewski, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. “The Alliance believes in the enduring value of championing the artistic self-expression of teens—the society-shifting creators who will help spark and reflect the greatest issues and movements of their, and our, time.”
Students ages 13 and up residing in the United States, U.S. territories and military bases, or Canada, are invited to submit original work in any of the Awards’ 28 art and writing categories, including architecture, painting, flash fiction, poetry, printmaking, fashion design, and a new category, Expanded Projects, which includes interdisciplinary and experimental visual art. All works are blindly adjudicated based on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal vision or voice, first on a regional level by more than 100 local affiliates of the Alliance, and then nationally by an impressive panel of industry experts. Annually, the Alliance partners with individuals, foundations, and corporations to offer scholarship opportunities for students in certain categories or addressing particular themes.
The 2021 Direct Scholarships include:
- Best-in-Grade Award: Underwritten by Bloomberg Philanthropies, this award provides 24 students (two artists and two writers per grades 7–12) with $500 scholarships, and their educators with $250 awards.
- Civic Expression Award: Underwritten by the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, this award provides $1,000 scholarships to six students whose art or writing explores political or social issues, and their educators, with $250 awards.
- New York Life Award: Underwritten by the New York Life Foundation, this award recognizes six students on the national level with $1,000 scholarships for their work exploring personal grief, loss, and bereavement, and their educators with $250 awards. Additional $500 scholarships are also available for two students from each of the following states: Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and New Mexico.
- One Earth Award: Underwritten by the One Earth Fund and the Salamander Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation, this award provides four students with $1,000 scholarships for creative works that address the pressing issue of human-caused climate change, and their educators with $250 awards.
- Portfolio Awards: The program’s highest national honor recognizes 16 high school seniors each with a $10,000 scholarship for his or her writing or art portfolio, and their educators with $1,000 awards; 30 Silver Medal with Distinction Portfolio recipients each receive $1,000 scholarships, and their educators receive $250 awards.
- The Alliance/ACT-SO Journey Award: In partnership with NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), this award provides full-tuition scholarships to attend summer art or writing programs for up to ten ACT-SO scholars, who also receive Gold or Silver Keys at the regional level of the Awards.
- The Herblock Award for Editorial Cartoon: Underwritten by The Herb Block Foundation, this award provides three young artists with $1,000 scholarships for visual art that offers commentary or criticism on current events, social events, or political topics, and their educators with $250 awards.
- Ray Bradbury Award for Science Fiction & Fantasy: Underwritten by the Ray Bradbury Foundation, this award offers $1,000 scholarships for up to six students, whose writing uses supernatural, magical, futuristic, scientific, and technological themes as a key element of the narrative, and their educators with $250 awards.
Deadlines for submissions vary by region. In response to challenges in classrooms around the country during the coronavirus pandemic, the Alliance and its affiliate partners have adapted the submissions process, awards adjudication, and programming for these changing circumstances. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Medalists will be announced in March 2021, and throughout the spring the Alliance will host a series of virtual and in-person celebrations for students, families, and educators, culminating with the summer launch of the Art.Write.Now.Tour, a traveling public exhibition featuring select 2021 National Medalists’ works. Writing recipients may have their work published in The Best Teen Writing of 2021, an anthology showcasing stories, essays, and poetry of teen authors; and art recipients in The Best Teen Art of 2021, highlighting paintings, photographs, drawings, and other works by teen artists.
About the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and are made possible through the generosity of Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, New York Life Foundation, Command Companies, The New York Times, The Herb Block Foundation, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ray Bradbury Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Wunderkinder Foundation, Poetry Foundation, and Academy of American Poets.
For more information about the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, visit www.artandwriting.org. Additional details about the Awards can be found in the Scholastic media room: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/artandwriting.