Every year we bring you the works of some of the freshest teen artists and writers in the country through exhibitions, publications and our own online gallery. Now, for the first time ever, we wanted to introduce you to the artists and writers themselves. Meet the people behind the images and stories right here, as our 2010 Scholastic Art & Writing Award recipients share their inspirations, unique fashion choices and even some signature dance moves.

You’ve been waiting, and it’s finally here – (drum roll, please) – we’re thrilled to announce the 2010 National Winners of The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!

We received over 165,000 submissions to The Awards this year – a record number. Teens from Alaska to Maine submitted poems, plays and personal essays; hats made of paper and birds made from books; and self-portraits in almost every kind of media.

More than 1,300 creative teens received National Gold and Silver Medals, and fifteen Portfolio Gold Medalists earned highly coveted $10,000 scholarships. One of our 2010 Jurors said it best: “Students exhibited great talent and ambition and, most of all, sincerity through their creative process.” Visit our online gallery to view National Works from 2010, selections of which will be on display at the World Financial Center in New York City this coming June.

Congratulations to all the students and teachers who participated. We hope to see more of your creative works in the 2010–2011 program year. Here’s what our friends at Scholastic Inc. had to say about this great achievement!

(Image, above: Kate Humphrey, The Birds, 2010 Gold Medal)

This year, we added a new category of video game design. Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Web Producer Dominic Matar reported from scene of this year’s first ever video game adjudication at E-Line Ventures in New York City….

Perhaps one of the most exciting additions to The Awards this year was our new category for video game design. When we launched the category last year, we wagered bets on how many submissions we would receive. In the end, the total was just over 100 games, submitted on story boards and in playable formats.

The judging session convened on Thursday, March 18, at E-Line Ventures’ headquarters in Manhattan, twenty stories high and overlooking Penn Station. Games ranged from epic, fantastical tales to eco-friendly inspired renditions. The breadth and quality of the submissions was immediately apparent, and the pace was soon set for a long day of animated discussions. Judging continued for the entire afternoon and even carried on into the following day. The judges remarked upon the level of sophistication and depth of the entries, as well as the difficulty of having to choose only a handful of winners.

Winners will be announced to the public on April 7 and will be invited to Carnegie Hall to accept Gold and Silver medals. Two top students will receive $1,000 awards each, as well as a stipend of $2,500 to attend a summer pre-college program in video game design, and a laptop from our generous sponsor, AMD Foundation.

Congratulations to the winners for standing out among fierce competition, and to all the entrants for your remarkable and inspired creative work. The 2010 judging is over, but your careers are just beginning, and we know there are many bright futures ahead!

Special thanks to E-line Ventures for their incredible assistance and to AMD for their generous support of the category.

Learn From the Best

There were two themes that came back again and again in the discussions. We wanted to share them with you, as they often became deciding points:

– “If we could only pair up this graphic artist with this programmer and that conceptual artist!”

Video Game creation, like filmmaking, is an intensely multi-disciplinary art form. You have a whole world to create and multiple storylines to develop, and you can take it as far as you want with sights, sounds, abilities, rules, twists and turns, all the way down to the presentation.

Major games, like films, are made by teams – sometimes armies – of people. Look around you to find the skills that complement yours and talents that challenge yours. Collaborating can be as challenging as it can be fun, but finding a few good collaborators can change your art and your life!

– “This game reminds me too much of… “

There’s a fine line between being creating a work that is inspired by another game, versus one that is derivative of it. Technical skill can be impressive, but remember what the judges look for, and keep in mind that originality and personal vision/voice represent 2/3 of their criteria.

Mark your calendars now for the 2011 Awards—registration opens October 1, 2010.

Their matching bowties landed Cy Hungerford and Ralph Reichhold as this month’s pick from our archives. Both Reichhold and Hungerford were local cartoonists with Pittsburgh newspapers when they evaluated submissions in the Cartooning category of The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in this shot from the 1940s.

Newspaper editorial cartoonist and past Scholastic Art Awards juror Cyrus Cotton (“Cy”) Hungerford never left home without a hat. Read More

At the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers we’re currently wrapping up judging for the 87th annual National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This year, more than 165,000 works of art and writing were submitted by students from across the country. In late February, we received 11,000 Gold Key works to be reviewed on the national level. After all the judging is complete, The Awards will bestow approximately 1,300 students with national honors.

For the last seven years that I’ve worked with the Alliance I’ve been amazed by the quality of both the visual art and writing.

The work humbles me: It is stunning, sophisticated and masterful. My personal favorite categories are the Art and Photography Portfolios. The portfolio is a unified body of eight works that represent a graduating senior’s best pieces and also demonstrates originality, technical skill and personal vision. Sixteen years ago, I prepared my own Scholastic Awards art portfolio entry as a high school senior. I remember the difficult time I had choosing my eight artworks and even creating a self portrait, the last piece, at the 11th hour. I was lucky enough to get a National Silver Medal that year—an accomplishment that changed my life. Now on the other side of the desk, I’m thrilled to be a part of the program that gave me my “first break” in the art world.

As I listened to the judges’ comments about each student piece, I thought about the amount of time, energy and creative genius that was poured into all of the Scholastic Awards submissions. It takes dedication and courage to put your work in front of professional artists and writers, especially from the NYC arts and literary scenes! This year’s national panelists included Awards alumni Kay WalkingStick, Mara Sprafkin and Ned Vizzini as well as acclaimed art professionals Tony Kushner, Joel Meyerowitz, Madison Smartt Bell, the comedian Paula Poundstone, Roger Cohen, John Leland from The New York Times, and renowned TV journalists Lesley Stahl and Peggy Noonan.

The National Award winners of The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards will be announced to the public on April 7, so be sure to visit our website http://www.artandwriting.org/ to see a list of the winners and a selection of the National Award-winning art and writing. I’m sure you’ll be impressed and inspired by the work of our nation’s most talented emerging young artists and writers.

Alex Tapnio
Senior Manager, National Programs

It inspired the world’s first commercially successful video game, and has been credited with helping to ease tensions between the United States and People’s Republic of China during the 1970s. Ping Pong’s noble origins are probably why we chose Spin NYC, a table tennis club, as the site of our spring “friend raiser.”

Most people have heard of fundraisers. A fundraising event can be anything from a school bake sale, a performance, a dinner or even a party – anything that involves gathering donations or support for a particular cause. But nonprofits need more than just donations – just as important is all the encouragement we get from volunteers and supporters who want to get involved and who believe in our mission as much as we do. So a “friend raiser” or cultivation event is what nonprofits like us do to get to know more people, tell them about our cause and reconnect with old friends.

And while we love to talk about our mission (which for this evening also included playing a few rounds of table tennis) to encourage teen artists and writers, we also like to see people have a good time. Alumna Hannah Jones (2004) read some 2010 Award-winning work, singer-songwriter and former Alliance Affiliate Coordinator Grace McLean wrote a song inspired by The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and even Susan Sarandon also stopped by to say hello.

Photo credits: Dominic Matar/Matt Boyd