Nick in "The Light in the Piazza." Photo Credit: Laura Durant

Primary role:

Nick Cartell’s primary role at the Alliance is preparing for the Awards by scanning in entry forms and answering questions from students, parents and teachers (if you called into the office you probably spoke with him at as some point!). Nick also helps facilitate regional and national judging panels, and organize and manage Awards Central. (He was behind the Help Desk, in case you were wondering.) Nick also does his best to make sure we can get as many people into Carnegie Hall as possible for the ceremony, and is currently in the process of mailing out all of the medals and certificates for this year. Don’t worry, they’re on their way! Nick also works on anything else that comes up on a day-to-day basis here at the Alliance. …Wow, that really is a lot!

Secret fact:

Nick is an actor and has worked Off-Broadway in Frankenstein, the musical. He even made it onto the cast album, and regionally across the country in different theatre venues. Nick also performed with Disney, working as a singer at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea for three years, which is where he met his wife, also a performer. Check out his website at where you’ll see some of his special skills include baby cry, Mickey Mouse voice, balloon animals and puppetry!


Before coming to the Alliance I worked at a bank. I was involved in proof reading a very boring document when the job at the Alliance landed in my lap, and it was a much needed change. The Alliance has a real family feel to it. We have fun in the office because we know how important the work we’re doing is. I’d never heard of the Awards before I started working here and wish that I would have known about it when I was in high school. The coolest part of the job is seeing the art and writing when it’s first submitted then watching how some works wind their way up to the National level to be awarded the top honors. Also meeting the students, teachers and parents that could make it to New York this year was such a thrill! The Awards Ceremony itself was such a thrill as. I happened to be at the Stage Door welcoming guests and celebrities, like John Baldessari and Tony Hawk. The atmosphere was electric with students everywhere, crammed into hallways, and I could always tell I was getting close to winners when I could hear their medals clanking together.

Since it was my first year with the Awards, I truly had no idea what to expect – but with the many months of planning that was done, everything went off without a hitch. The entire night was awesome, and when Tony Hawk skateboarded down the aisle, the entire room exploded. I don’t think I have ever had more fun at an awards ceremony. Can’t wait to see what next year holds and what we can do to top it!

Advice to Artists/Writers:

Remember that you are on a journey. You may stumble and fall, but it’s the choice to keep going that makes you stronger and will get you to the end. Never lose sight of your dream.

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