Guest post by Alliance staffer Katie Babick, Manager of External Relations

On a lovely Friday in late January, I had the opportunity to visit Springs Preserve, home to the Alliance’s Southern Nevada regional affiliate. Jessica Hougen, who runs the regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for Southern Nevada and is the Assistant Curator at Springs Preserve, gave me a tour and told me what it is like to run the program in her corner of the world.

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Brianna Drinsky, "Deeply Rooted." Grade 8, Age 13. 2011 Gold Medal, Digital Art.

Gold Key Winner Lydia asked Ned about comparing your work to others and having it shared with the world.

Lydia Asked:

I enjoy writing because it is my way of expressing myself and getting things out there.  I wrote a short story for the art and writing award and got a regional gold key.  As I was looking at all the winners, I got discouraged because how do I know if mine is any good?  I want to be published some day- and hopefully someday I can turn my short story into a novel.  How old do you have to be for all of that to work?  How does all of it work? Where did you start?  I really want my story to be heard by the world.
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Pittsburgh Region Art Coordinator Frances Hawbaker painting a mural.

After ten years, the Scholastic Art Awards have returned to Pittsburgh, PA

The Scholastic Awards program has its roots in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was Scholastic Inc.’s headquarters for many years and where the program got its start back in the 1920s. In fact, numerous famous artists like Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein and Mel Bochner were enrolled in Pittsburgh high schools when they won their Scholastic Art Awards. Read More

Kara Smith with 2010 Award Winner Ronnia Estes.

Missouri is the “Gateway to the West,” and the birthplace of iced tea and ice cream cones. But it’s also the birthplace or hometown of several notable American authors and poets, including Maya Angelou, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (better known as Mark Twain!), Laura Ingalls Wilder and Langston Hughes. Every year, Missouri teens follow in these literary footsteps by submitting their work to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Recently, our regional partner’s program director Dr. Jane Frick told us about her work with the Missouri Writing Region.

AYAW: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the Missouri Writing Project? What’s a typical day on the job?

Jane Frick: The Missouri Writing Region of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is housed at Prairie Lands Writing Project (PLWP) at Missouri Western State University. Here at Prairie Lands, I have a graduate assistant (15 hours a week, August – May) who works as the contest submissions coordinator. Read More

Image: Artist and teacher Leslie Matz demonstrating technique in class.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are happening all over the country: from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon. Even in Anchorage, Alaska – the northern and western-most point in the United States – art students in Leslie Matz’s A.P. and Advanced Art classes are preparing artwork for the Awards. In addition to being an educator, Leslie Matz is a practicing artist who creates jewelry, pottery, paintings and “seriously functional bicycle components.” This year, two of Matz’s students won national Awards for their metalwork and jewelry. We recently asked Matz to tell us about his dual identity as a teacher and an artist. Read More


Sixteen years ago, the local Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program was in danger of disappearing from Jennifer Baldwin’s region of Erlanger, Kentucky. The local organization that hosted it in the past announced it would no longer be running the program. Jennifer, just settling into a new high school teaching position, wasn’t about to let The Awards go without a fight. “All of those years students spent developing their portfolios for possible scholarship consideration evaporated in that cancellation letter,” she recalls. ”I didn’t know exactly how I would do this, but I wasn’t afraid to try.” Read More