Feel the Burn by Max Johnson via Alliance for Young Artists & Writers on Vimeo.

Comedy is a difficult medium. What’s funny to one person can be a bore to another. This week’s Gold Medal Portfolio recipients, Max Johnson and Ron Anahaw, took a chance with using humor in their art and writing, and it really paid off. What’s really impressive about Max’s work is his distinctive animation style–as soon as you see the title card, you know it’s from Max. Ron infuses his writing with a lightheartedness that makes his characters feel like someone you already know, or want to know. Both of these students know a good joke when they hear it, and are experts at using humor to enhance their work. Read More

IMG_0088 - resized

Courtney Buckland, the Alliance’s Associate Manager of Affiliate Services, at the 2015 National Art Educators Association Annual Convention in New Orleans.

As an artist, the National Art Educators Association Annual Convention (NAEA) is my favorite event–I feel like when I arrive I am with my tribe. Big jewelry, rainbow-colored hair, and thousands of art educators, administrators, and even some students about to begin the path to becoming art educators themselves. The fact that this year’s convention was in New Orleans was particularly welcome after the long, cold winter we had in New York City. I was continuously pleased by how much NAEA was able to bring the feel of New Orleans to the convention. There was no shortage of masks, Mardi Gras beads, and sunshine! Read More


The Youth Poetry Ambassadors pose after a day of performances at the Poetry Foundation. Represented are the National Student Poets Program, Young Chicago Authors, Poetry Out Loud, and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. Photo by George Gong.

In Chicago, on April 2–3, the National Student Poets Class of 2014 convened at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago to kick off National Poetry Month with a Youth Poetry Assembly. The National Student Poets were joined by their peers representing other programs throughout the nation: Poetry Out Loud, Young Chicago Authors, and the Philly Youth Poetry Movement. The performances were electric, as each of the eleven writers, readers, and performers took to the stage to share their poetry with one another and an open audience of poetry lovers.
Read More

Black and White Condention 2

Black and White Condention 2, Tanner Rhines

For week two in our series profiling the 2015 Gold Medal Portfolio recipients, we’re taking a look at Monique Taylor and Tanner Rhines. Monique and Tanner use their art and writing to understand the way people, our cities, and our societies fit together and come apart. Their works compact expansive feelings, human histories, and settings into packages that make you delve deeper into fascinating spaces and thoughts you normally would have overlooked.

Read More


Corianna Moffatt with NYC Region student Steven Paul in front of the 6-story, hand-painted mural of his 2014 Gold Medal photograph, Lost Time.

This is the NYC Region

Hello! My name is Corianna Moffatt and I am the coordinator for the 2015 NYC Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.  This is my first year working on the Awards, and I couldn’t do it without the support of Scott Larner, Lisa Feder-Feitel, and all of the wonderful folk at the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. It takes a lot of invested people to run a program that reaches thousands of students, and this year we had generous help from Pratt Institute, St. Joseph’s College, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, to name a few. I would like to send out a special thank you to our fabulous partners The New School’s Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts who have provided invaluable support and insight throughout the 2015 Awards season. Read More


Benjamin Bear, Black


Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer. —Barbara Kingsolver

Knowing what you want to say before you put your pen to the paper, click the camera shutter, or dip your brush in paint takes time to figure out, but it is well worth the effort. One of the criteria the Scholastic Awards jurors look for is a personal vision or voice, and this year’s Gold Medal Portfolio recipients’ works are speaking loudly and clearly. These works are personal and public; they focus on the small things in life and the big ideas. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to explore these works, and the artists and writers behind them, in their own words. Benjamin Bear and Edil Hassan will kick off our series on the 2015 Scholastic Awards’ Gold Medal Portfolio recipients.

Read More