This post originally appeared on Scholastic’s On Our Minds blog. By Brittany Sullivan.

port goldsWhat a whirlwind of a weekend! In case you missed it, this weekend was dedicated to celebrating the amazingly talented national Award-winning students in the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the country’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative students in grades 7–12We had the honor of meeting over 800 wonderful young artists and writers who traveled to New York City from all across the country with their teachers and families. These students inspire us every single day with their fearless drive to break boundaries and make waves with their creative talents. To honor them and their accomplishments, the 2014 National Celebration was jam-packed with exciting events and special features hosted throughout the city.

awawardsOn Thursday, June 5 the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers with Hive NYC hosted the first annual Maker Prom at The Roosevelt Hotel. National winners danced the night away and joined in on fun “maker stations” where they created wearable tech LED corsages and sonic portraits, presented by Eyebeam and World Up respectively. Check out some of the students’ impressive dance moves on the Alliance’s Instagram!

Thursday also marked the grand opening of the Art.Write.Now. 2014 National Exhibition! Over 500 student works of art and writing are currently on display at Parsons The New School for Design’s Sheila C. Johnson Design Center and Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City. The free exhibit is open to the public until June 14 – if you are in Manhattan, be sure to stop by! The phenomenal student artwork displayed ranges from photography to fashion design to sculpture, and winning writing can be read on Kindles or listened to from cans hanging on strings to evoke memories of playing telephone when we were young. For location details and hours, visit artandwriting.org and click here to browse the amazing student work.

Nick Kay David

The annual National Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall took place on Friday, June 6. You can watch the entire ceremony online via the recorded live webcast! This was an emotional night, full of inspirational words, celebration and smiles. National Award-winning high school seniors were honored on stage and Artist Kay WalkingStick received the program’s Alumni Achievement Award, which was presented by fashion designer Zac Posen. Sponsored Award recipients also took to the stage at Carnegie Hall, including winners of the Best in Grade AwardGedenk Award for Tolerance3D Systems AwardDuck Tape® Brand Award and Creativity & Citizenship Award.

During the ceremony, Emmy® Award–winning actor David Strathairn read work by the National Student Poets and entertainer Nick Cannon sent excitement through the audience with his closing remarks reminding students to never give up on their dreams, no matter the obstacles. “Our nation’s creative future is in your hands,” said Nick Cannon to the National winners. “You guys are the thinkers. You guys are the builders, the leaders and the trailblazers and you’re a shining example of truth and courage. This is your first step into breaking boundaries and expressing a vision that is uniquely yours, and a voice that is authentic and bold and searingly honest. It’s that honesty that’s going to make you stand out.” We couldn’t agree more. Check out photos on our Media Room!

Immediately following the National Ceremony was the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Benefit at the The Edison Ballroom. In addition to a fabulous dinner, this annual fundraising event featured readings by David Strathairn and further recognition of the program’s exceptional creative teens. Also on Friday, two giant Times Square screens promoted the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, thanks to support from Viacom, and the iconic Empire State Building shined its tower lights in gold to honor the talent of all national Award winners.

Sky Shot-2It was an action-packed weekend that we will surely never forget. If you are in the Brooklyn area, be sure to visit 111 Broadway on the corner of Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg to see a Gold Medal Award–winning photograph by Brooklyn high school senior Steven Paul painted by Colossal Media on the side of a building. It’s larger-than-life!

And finally, congratulations to all Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners – welcome to the family.

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