This edited post originally appeared in Scholastic’s On Our Minds blog on February 10, 2012.

Our lobbies and hallways are brimming with inspiration every day. When you visit Scholastic headquarters you are surrounded by brilliant pieces of art made by artists you don’t know – yet – because every piece was created by a creative teenager that has won a Scholastic Art & Writing Award. All of these students are destined for interesting and creative futures, and some are sure to become household names. In fact, many Award alumni have.

In anticipation of the 90th Anniversary of the Awards, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which runs the program, has offered visitors to our building a sneak peek at a few inspiring items from their archives.

In 1997, the Alliance asked a selection of preeminent alumni and past jurors to share their advice with creative teens. More than 30 responded, with a now almost-archaic artifact: a typed or handwritten letter! They are currently on display in our lobby, but you can read the inspiring missives from 8 of these luminaries right here, including Actor Alec Baldwin (shown above), Poet Nikki Giovanni, Novelist John Gregory Dunne, Playwright Arthur Miller, Artists John Baldessari and Cristos Gianakos, Author Edwidge Danticat and Photographer Richard Avedon.

We hope these inspire you too.  Which is your favorite?

2. Richard Avedon: “To be a young artist is to ignite and thrive on the volcano of your imagination.”

3. Arthur Miller: To be an artist you will need to be lazy and hard-working, a liar and a truth-addict, a patriot and critic of your country, a nice person and a disgusting one, and on and on. If you can contain your contradictions and find a way to express them, you may with luck be an artist. Good luck.”

4. Edwidge Danticat:

5. John Gregory Dunne: “Don’t talk about it, do it. If you talk about it, it won’t get done! So do it. And do it again. And again. Again. Again.

6. Nikki Giovanni:

7. John Baldessari

8. Cristos Gianakos

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