untitled (Separate Yourself From the Animals), 2013.

Untitled (Separate Yourself From the Animals), 2013. By Justin Nissley.

Guest post by Justin Nissley (2001 Scholastic Awards winner) whose art is currently being shown in a group exhibition at the Taubman Museum of Art until January 25. Justin received his BFA in Studio Art at Virginia Tech, and now resides and works in New York City. He was also a part of our first artist-and-residency program, the Atelier, in the fall/winter of 2011.

New York City is a great place for an artist to live. There is so much to see and do, and artists can visit many local galleries to get their finger on the pulse of what is happening in the art world. I think going to look at art is one of the most important things an artist can do, other than creating it.

My art for the past 7 years has been figurative, and mostly painting portraits. I’m drawn to the face because I’m constantly surrounded by people, and each person is fascinating in his or her own way. Recently, I started doing charcoal drawings of people in gas masks. Read More

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Guest post by Timothy H. Lee (2006-08 Scholastic Awards winner) on his inspiring journey to becoming an artist and his experience in our first Art.Write.Now.Pop-Up! flash residency in the Scholastic flagship store’s main display window from September 29 – October 4

It’s been 3 weeks since my residency at the Scholastic building storefront ended, and I find myself finally transitioning back into a private studio practice. I was surprised at how difficult it was to transition from working in front of hundreds of people a day, to spending quiet nights painting alone. Although my residency only lasted a week, my experience there was one that had a profound impact on my life: not because I met Nick Cannon, or was interviewed by Hi-Fructose, or even because of the opportunities I received as result of my exposure (though I will not lie and say those weren’t amazing perks). The Art.Write.Now.Pop-Up!  served as a confirmation that becoming an artist was the right decision. Read More

WNYC Radio host Brian Lehrer

WNYC Radio host Brian Lehrer

Write. Rewrite. Stop.

These three words, dispensed tersely from award-winning radio-journalist and WNYC Radio host Brian Lehrer, comprise his best advice for teen writers and especially for all of you who plan to enter the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. To elaborate a bit—just a bit—here are his tips:

WRITE

  • Write every day. If you want to make it at something, do it all the time.
  • Write long, write medium, write short….but keep writing.
  • Write along with your life. Write about the mundane things that happen in your day and you’ll wind up finding meaning in them that you didn’t know was there until the writing made you start to think.
  • Write about things outside your life:  Notice the things that capture your interest. Make a note of what they are.  Write about why THAT made you stop and think. Then check ‘em out more fully (see next tip!).

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Zac Henning

ASPCP member Khalil Abdellah. Photo Credit Zac Henning

Guest post by Sam Reed

Imagine a place where young men are allowed to connect with their passion for rap music, video games, comics, movies, poetry, sci-fi, and what have you. Imagine a space where boys from diverse communities work alongside emerging rappers, game designers, filmmakers, and established poets and artists. For over 60 boys who participated in the Boys Write Now workshops in Philadelphia this summer, these connected learning spaces became a reality.

In August, I helped organize a series of writing workshops for boys in grades 7-12 in collaboration with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and their regional affiliate partner the Philadelphia Writing Project. Check out the pre-workshop video below, which was filmed and edited by Tessa Kerpan, a senior film major attending Creative and Performance Arts High School in Philadelphia. Read More

Hi! Claire here with a third blog post featuring National Student Poet Natalie from Illinois, who represents the Midwest! For those who are unfamiliar, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have partnered with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to present the National Students Poets Program, the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Each year, five National Student Poets are selected through the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for a year of service as poetry ambassadors, each representing a different region of the country. This summer, Natalie has featured in and performed at a poetry workshop hosted by Wordplay in Chicago, and will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall.

National Student Poet Natalie Richardson performing at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago at the Louder Than A Bomb finals this past March.

National Student Poet Natalie Richardson performing at the Cadillac Palace in Chicago at the Louder Than A Bomb finals this past March.

CL: (Struggles to set up the video chat via Google+ Hangout and starts talking.)
NR: I can’t hear you.

CL: (Face falls and types in the chat box on the side, “I’ll ask you the questions here, and you can respond by speaking.”)
NR: Yay for one-sided conversations!

CL: Part one—general questions. What was the highlight of your year as a National Student Poet?
NR: (Pauses.) Wow, there are literally tons to choose from, but if I had to pick one, it would be meeting the President and the First Lady simply because that was the first time that the gravity of the program really hit me. Up to that point, everything was wonderful, of course. But that particular event, for me, set in stone the weight of this title. I particularly feel so lucky that I get to live in this country where people like the President and the First Lady do something like this to support the arts.

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Hi! Claire here with another blog post from my series “Poets on Poets” — this time, featuring National Student Poet Miles, who represents the West Coast region. For those who are unfamiliar, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have partnered with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers to present the National Students Poets Program, the country’s highest honor for youth poets presenting original work. Each year, five National Student Poets are selected through the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for a year of service as poetry ambassadors, each representing a different region of the country. This summer, Miles partnered with Write Around Portland to lead a poetry workshop for adults. He looks forward to attending Harvard University in the fall!

National Student Poet Miles reading in front of an audience.

National Student Poet Miles reading in front of an audience.

CL: (After getting those awkward “hellos” and “how have you been doing” questions out of the way…) So let’s start with some general questions!
MH: Great.

CL: What was the highlight of your year as a National Student Poet?
MH: Well, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky in the first place, but my highlight would have to be the 2012 Dodge Poetry Festival. I was still doing some soul-searching about the honor, what it meant, and how it would affect me. (He pauses.) It was hard to own up to it, and I felt that I couldn’t own up to it. Dodge was the most overwhelming because I was surrounded by great poetic talents. I was talking to Terrance Hayes and asking him, “What am I doing here?” He responded, saying “you have talent,” to relax, and to trust in my talent and work. Read More