Drawing by Xavier Donnelly

Drawing by Xavier Donnelly

Cities—from ancient Athens to Oz to Dubai—capture the imaginations of artists through the ages because of their complexity and creative use of color, form, space, and scale. We asked Xavier Donnelly, 2010 Portfolio Gold Medalist and this summer’s art intern at the Alliance, to elaborate on what draws him to architecture and the urban environment.

Habitats for Humanity: Ever since I can remember I have been fascinated by cities and the environments that humanity has designed for itself. All of my artwork – whether it is drawing, sculpture, or other mediums – is highly influenced by architecture and the spaces I observe around me. One of my favorite aspects of architecture is that humans have constructed their own landscape and it is one that is constantly evolving. I love to watch the evolution of architecture as designers create fantastic and unorthodox forms and spaces for us to inhabit. Read More

Lara Candland Asplund

Lara Candland Asplund is a writer, musician, librettist, feminist and writing-teacher-mentor to many Scholastic Award-winning writers including Portfolio Gold Medalist Mackenzie Jacoby and 2013 Portfolio Gold Key winner Sid Peery. We asked her to share her inspiration, and she sat right down and wrote you all a letter!

Dear Artists and Writers,

The most successful artists know a really good secret: you’re a lot more productive when you’re having fun, when your alpha waves are flowing. Here are some tips for learning how to mine your summer creativity to keep you going all year! Read More

Khanh Tran. Untitled. Grade 12, Age 17. 2013 Silver Medal, Painting.

Khanh Tran. Untitled. Grade 12, Age 17. 2013 Silver Medal, Painting.

Consider the word “playwright.” It suggests a wordsmith who uses both innovation and craft, and often fuses poetry and prose for an end product that is not for the faint-hearted: it’s interpreted…out loud…in front of an audience!

We asked playwright and 2013 Scholastic Awards Gold Medalist Phillip Anastassiou to discuss his process and his play Two Men Alike, in which an extremely talkative man and a deaf-mute find themselves stuck in a cave. What inspired him, and what advice can he offer to aspiring playwrights for the 2014 Scholastic Awards? In his own words:

Heroes and Influences…
I am seriously attracted to the aesthetic of absurdist drama. Beckett and Ionesco are my heroes. Waiting for Godot is almost sacred. My objective in writing Two Men Alike was to depict the constant struggle to seek intrinsic purpose in life and the inevitable failure to do so. Read More

Stephanie Carlisle. A World of Your Own Making. Grade 12, Age 17. 2013 Gold Medal, Mixed Media.

Stephanie Carlisle. A World of Your Own Making. Grade 12, Age 17. 2013 Gold Medal, Mixed Media.

This week, our SoHo office has earned an extra “t”: SOHOT. So we asked alum Loretta Lopez, editor of this year’s The Best Teen Writing (to be released in the fall) and native of Guadalajara, to share her ideas for keeping cool and creative during this sultry season.  Read on, while you sip your iced chai or lemonade! Have ideas on how to stay creative this summer? Tweet them to @artandwriting using #StartWriteNow or post them on our Facebook page!

Trust chance
Go to a nearby library, bookstore, or even a shelf in your house. Run your fingers over the spines of books (perhaps with your eyes closed) and when one feels right, choose it.  Split it open and read the first paragraph that you lay your eyes on. Then, write a scene that either follows or precedes the occurrences of the paragraph you just read. Read More

Campbell’s Soup Cans, Andy Warhol, 1962

Campbell’s Soup Cans, Andy Warhol, 1962

What do Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg and Scholastic Awards alum Andy Warhol have in common? They are all notable pop artists!

A movement that began in the late 1950s, pop art includes imagery from popular culture and references comic books, advertising, current events, and objects. Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans and Lichtenstein’s comic book-inspired images are both great examples of pop art! Read More

Creativity and Citizenship Prompt

To propose the topic for the 2014 Creativity & Citizenship Award!

Each year three $1,000 scholarships are awarded to artists and writers who create art or writing exploring a specific topic. Last year we asked young artists and writers to think about the issue of Voting and Voting Rights (2013). Past prompts have included Bullying (2012), Social Change (2011), and Freedom of Expression (2010).

This year we want to know what issues are important to you! We are inviting students to propose ideas for the 2014 Creativity and Citizenship Awards topic. One idea will be selected as the prompt for next year’s contest!

To submit a topic, email slarner@scholastic.com by Friday, July 19th with your idea as well as a paragraph on why you feel that it is an important issue for young artists and writers to explore.

We’d also like you to use your creativity to develop a piece of art and writing that promotes your topic! Above is an example artwork (in the spirit of one of our most notable alumni, Andy Warhol) on the Voting Rights topic, created by our staff member Courtney Buckland.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with! We will feature some of our favorites in a future blog post and on our Tumblr page!