The first two weeks of February we will be welcoming renowned artists from around the country (and world) to join us at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Office in New York City for National Art Judging. These artists are at the top of their fields, and they share in our mission of recognizing and fostering creativity.
This year we had over 300,000 submissions nationwide and only the top 5-7% are considered on the National Level for the Gold and Silver Medals and the opportunity to NYC in June for National Events.
We are currently in our fourth day of judging, and it has been smooth sailing so far! While the heart of judging has remained unchanged in the past 92 years, the technology we use has changed quite a bit – goodbye wooden paddles, hello computers, smart boards, and the internet! All of our judging is run through the same online system through which our participants submit their work. This system was built in house by our in house web and IT guru, Dominic Matar, and is constantly being redesigned to improve the ease of use and security for students and educators. Thank goodness for Dominic and his team!
Each category has a panel of three judges. We operate with American Idol rules: 2 yeses – the work progress to the next level, 2 no’s – the work remains at the current Award level. Each panel is assigned a moderator from within the Alliance to answer questions, move things along, and break up fights – just kidding!
Not only is this an exciting time for Alliance staff, who get a sneak peak at the amazing Gold Key artwork and hang out with some of the most important artists of our time, but the jurors have a blast too! Our participants’ work represents the future of art. Often jurors will say – “How did they do that fold?” “I have never heard of that material before, let me look it up.” “Look at that shape – I want to remember that.” While the days can be long – some of our panels consist of over 1,000 works – everyone feels a sense of accomplishment and pride on behalf of all of the young artists across the country that are developing their creative voice through their art. Even though the lack of support for art programs across the country is rapidly declining, we see that our participants are keeping art very much alive.
A special thank you to the jurors who have already joined us in selecting the 2015 National Medalists!!
Ariane Lourie Harrison
Crystal Bruno aka Crystal Clarity
*Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Alum