High School Artists and Writers Win more than $200,000 in Scholarships through the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards


Additional $5 million is available to these creative teens, who join a prestigious list of Awards alumni including Zac Posen, Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates & Truman Capote


New York, NY — March 20, 2012 — The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the country's longest-running and most prestigious award and recognition program for creative teenagers, today announced the winners of its 2012 competition. Fifteen high school seniors were honored with a Portfolio Gold Award, the highest level of achievement that includes a $10,000 cash scholarship. The graduating seniors who received national Awards are now eligible for $5 million in scholarships from more than 60 colleges, universities and art institutes across the country; other student medalists won cash awards for "Best in Grade" and other special designations.

More than 1,600 of the most talented and ambitious students in grades 7-12, representing 48 U.S. states, as well as students in Washington, DC and American schools abroad, were chosen to receive national medals. Students' works were blindly adjudicated, first locally through the 116 affiliates of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the presenting nonprofit of the Awards, and then nationally by panels of judges comprised of renowned artists, authors, educators, and industry professionals. This year's list of jurors included David Sedaris, Mary Ellen Mark, Edwidge Danticat, Roz Chast, among others. Works were judged on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal vision or voice. The teachers of national winners were also recognized with awards.

This year’s competition attracted more participants than ever before, with over 200,000 submissions in 28 categories, including dramatic script, journalism, humor, novel-writing and science- fiction, as well as painting, sculpture, photography, fashion design, film and animation, and video game design. 2012 is also a milestone for poets as it marks the inaugural year of the National Student Poets Program, the highest honor for youth poets and open exclusively to winners of the Scholastic Award in poetry. It is presented by the Alliance in partnership with the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Recipients of the 2012 Portfolio Gold Awards are: Lashanda Anakwah of Bronx, NY; Chelsea Borsack of Oceanside, NY; Haeyeon Cho of Milton, MA; Sarah Devlin of New Orleans, LA; Felipe Di Poi of West Hartford, CT;Emma Goldberg of New York, NY; Leah Lierz of Greenville, SC; Leo Purman of Milwaukee, WI; Brianna Robinson of Charlotte, NC; Drew Shields of Milwaukee, WI; Diane Ward of Brandon, MS; Rosa Wolf of Boise, ID; Elise Wunderlich of Lake Oswego, OR; Batrek Yassa of Jersey City, NJ and Yan Zhang of Omaha, NE. Additional monetary awards were provided by the AMD Foundation, the New York Life Foundation, Sanford Prismacolor, Bloomberg L.P., Ovation, and the National Constitution Center. A complete list of winners is available here.

"The 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners have once again proven the broad and brilliant capacity of our nation's teens to produce exquisite works of art and writing," said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. "The Awards continues to be the largest source of scholarships and recognition for our nation's student artists and writers, and our program's reach only grows as we recruit new partners each year to join us in honoring creative teens and providing the necessary support for them to explore their potential. After meeting these students and viewing their work, you can't help but feel optimistic and excited about the future of America's creative leadership."

This year's National Celebration of the Awards will kick off in New York City on the night of May 31 when the top of the Empire State Building will be lit in gold. On June 1, the national winners will be honored onstage alongside well-known illustrator and Award alumnus Edward Sorel at a special ceremony at the world-famous Carnegie Hall, and to extend the festivities, select Award-winning art and writing will be exhibited at Parsons The New School for Design in Manhattan through June 16, 2012. The exhibition and accompanying public programs are co-sponsored by the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design.

Alumni of the Scholastic Awards have gone on to continue their education at many of the top colleges, universities and institutes across the country, such as Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Kenyon College, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Carnegie Mellon University, the School of Visual Arts, Parsons The New School for Design, Columbia University, and Yale University. Distinguished alumni include Andy Warhol, Robert Redford, Richard Avedon, Zac Posen, Joyce Carol Oates, John Baldessari, Sylvia Plath, John Lithgow, Ned Vizzini and Abdi Farah (first-season winner of the Bravo reality show Work of Art: The Next Great Artist). As the program prepares for its 90th anniversary in 2013, the Alliance is calling all alumni to reconnect and join in the celebration.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is generously supported by Scholastic Inc., the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, AMD Foundation, Command Web Offset Co., Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, The New York Times, Blick Art Materials, Ovation, New York Life, Amazon.com, Bloomberg L.P., the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and additional contributions from numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders.

For more information, please visit the media room.

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, identifies teenagers with exceptional creative talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Founded in 1923, the Awards is the longest-running, most prestigious program of its kind, having fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students through recognition, exhibitions and publications. Over the past five years, students have submitted nearly 700,000 pieces of work and over $25 million has been made available in scholarships and awards to top winning participants. The Alliance partners with 116 regional affiliates across the country to bring the program to local communities, and works with a network of more than 60 colleges and universities to increase the range of scholarship and award opportunities. With the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alliance is a founding partner of the National Student Poets Program, the country’s highest honor for youth poets, which selects five students exclusively from current Scholastic Art & Writing Award poetry winners. More information about the Alliance and its programs can be found at www.artandwriting.org.


Anne Sparkmann

Lia Zneimer