Guest post by Alliance staffer Courtney Buckland, Project Administrator
On October 12, students, families, and teachers from across the country gathered at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC to celebrate the opening of the 2012 Art.Write.Now D.C. exhibition. More than 180 National Award-winning works from the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are on exhibit at the Department of Education (DoED) and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities from now until the end of August 2013. The DoED is also home to a film reel of student videos, Kindles loaded with The Best Teen Writing of 2012, and poems from our 2012 National Student Poets.
The day of celebration kicked off with a workshop led by Katya Hott, a visiting video game expert and E-Line Media representative. Katya outlined the relationship between the design and the story line aspects of video games – great tips to inspire both our authors and artists. After the interesting presentation of the intricacies of creating a video game, Katya passed out bags full of paper clips, stickers, markers and candy, among other fun objects, and had students team up to develop their own games. After some quick brainstorming and design, the teams presented and demonstrated their games. Finger Twister for your iPad was one of my favorites!
Following the workshop, students, parents, and teachers gathered for the ceremony. Speakers included Jim Shelton, Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement; Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Martha Kanter, Under Secretary of Education. After some very inspiring words about the importance of arts education and the appreciation felt for the work being shown, the students officially opened the exhibit by cutting the ribbon!
The rest of the afternoon was packed with activities, including a delicious lunch at the National Museum of the American Indian. The museum features a café with traditional Native American foods, which adds to the full experience you get during your visit. After lunch, the students broke into small groups for docent-led tours of the National Gallery of Art’s East Wing. The East Wing holds the museum’s modern and contemporary art collection, and students got a special sneak peek of the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective showing now through January 13, 2013.
All the students left the museum sharing their excitement for the iconic works on display, including many by Scholastic Awards winners.
Finally, the students concluded their day at the Old Post Office Tower, which houses the offices of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The works chosen for this space hang in the offices of the PCAH staff, who opened their doors and welcomed our students inside. Members of the PCAH who may visit the offices in the coming year and see these works include actor Edward Norton, actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Editor in Chief of VOGUE Anna Wintour!
It was a beautiful and exciting day, which I felt so lucky to be present for.