At the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers we’re currently wrapping up judging for the 87th annual National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This year, more than 165,000 works of art and writing were submitted by students from across the country. In late February, we received 11,000 Gold Key works to be reviewed on the national level. After all the judging is complete, The Awards will bestow approximately 1,300 students with national honors.

For the last seven years that I’ve worked with the Alliance I’ve been amazed by the quality of both the visual art and writing.


The work humbles me: It is stunning, sophisticated and masterful. My personal favorite categories are the Art and Photography Portfolios. The portfolio is a unified body of eight works that represent a graduating senior’s best pieces and also demonstrates originality, technical skill and personal vision. Sixteen years ago, I prepared my own Scholastic Awards art portfolio entry as a high school senior. I remember the difficult time I had choosing my eight artworks and even creating a self portrait, the last piece, at the 11th hour. I was lucky enough to get a National Silver Medal that year—an accomplishment that changed my life. Now on the other side of the desk, I’m thrilled to be a part of the program that gave me my “first break” in the art world.

As I listened to the judges’ comments about each student piece, I thought about the amount of time, energy and creative genius that was poured into all of the Scholastic Awards submissions. It takes dedication and courage to put your work in front of professional artists and writers, especially from the NYC arts and literary scenes! This year’s national panelists included Awards alumni Kay WalkingStick, Mara Sprafkin and Ned Vizzini as well as acclaimed art professionals Tony Kushner, Joel Meyerowitz, Madison Smartt Bell, the comedian Paula Poundstone, Roger Cohen, John Leland from The New York Times, and renowned TV journalists Lesley Stahl and Peggy Noonan.

The National Award winners of The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards will be announced to the public on April 7, so be sure to visit our website http://www.artandwriting.org/ to see a list of the winners and a selection of the National Award-winning art and writing. I’m sure you’ll be impressed and inspired by the work of our nation’s most talented emerging young artists and writers.

Alex Tapnio
Senior Manager, National Programs

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