The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program was established by Maurice Robinson, founder of Scholastic Books, Inc. Since 1923, it has been the largest and most prestigious recognition program and source of scholarships for creative teens in the U.S.
How the competition works
Regional sponsors across the U.S. administer the competition and awards each year. In the fall, student work from school districts and individual schools (including private schools) compete at the regional level in 29 categories of art and writing. Student entries are judged by panels of highly-qualified professionals who select Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention recipients. Gold Key winners go on to compete at the national level. More than 1,500 students receive national awards each year.
Luminaries who have served as judges include Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Judy Blume, Billy Collins, Paul Giamatti, Francine Prose, Edwidge Danticat, David Sedaris, Lesley Stahl, Nikki Giovanni, Roz Chast, Wangechi Mutu, Andres Serrano, Kiki Smith, Jill Kraus, Shinique Smith, Rashid Johnson, and Waris Ahluwalia.
Past winners include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Robert Redford and Joyce Carol Oates.
Regional winners are being announced now. From these, a designated number of best-in-region selections will be judged nationally for American Voices/American Visions Medals. Winners (both artists and writers) will be named as national medalists this spring. Many students will gain the opportunity to attend ceremonies in Carnegie Hall in New York City where Scholastic Art & Writing is located.
Regional winners in Texas announced
In Harris County (Houston, Texas) teen recipients of awards hail from 18 Harris County school districts, 16 private schools, two charter schools and a home school. A total of 8,177 entries were submitted—2,100 writing and 6,077 art. Of the 2,100 writing entries (including 33 portfolios), awards consist of 124 Gold Key, 172 Silver Key and 302 honorable mentions. For the 6,077 art entries (including 324 portfolios), awards consist of 252 Gold Key, 352 Silver Key and 506 honorable mention.
2016 Awards information (and new scholarships!)
Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus will offer two new awards this year: the Neiman Marcus Award for Fashion and the Neiman Marcus Award for Jewelry! Works in the fashion and jewelry categories will automatically be eligible for consideration. The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation will offer two scholarships of $1,000 to one Gold Medal recipient in fashion and one in jewelry.
Note there is a new category in the Awards this year: Editorial Cartoon sponsored by The Herb Block Foundation. This category will judge submissions of drawings, illustrations, comic art, and animations with a political theme or message.
See samples of last year’s winners in The Best Teen Writing of 2015, published in August, 2015. It showcases stories, essays and poetry by teen authors who earned a National Medal in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards during the 2014-15 competition. (An Educator Guide is included.)