2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Teen Recipients Announced

Allyson Barkan, 212-389-3469, abarkan@scholastic.com

More Than 2,700 Teens Nationwide Receive National Recognition from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers in 2019; 16 High School Students Receive Awards’ Highest Honor and $10,000 Scholarship

Lucianne Walkowicz—Noted Astronomer at the Adler Planetarium, Co-Founder of The JustSpace Alliance, TED Senior Fellow and Practicing Multimedia Artist—to Receive Alumni Achievement Award at Carnegie Hall June 6th

NEW YORK, NY – March 13, 2019 – The nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers today announced the national award recipients of the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. This honor opens doors for students by providing access to scholarship programs and workshops and the ability to have work published and displayed in regional and National Exhibitions. Top students are invited to attend the week-long national celebration in New York City, which includes a ceremony at Carnegie Hall on June 6. To learn more, and to find a complete list of the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards national recipients, visit: www.artandwriting.org.

Within the Awards’ 29 categories—which include poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, and video game design—340,000 works of art and writing were submitted by students from every state in the nation for adjudication at the regional level this year.

2019 Gold Medal Portfolio Recipients

Sixteen high school seniors received the program’s highest national honor, the Gold Medal Portfolio, which includes a $10,000 scholarship.

Gold Portfolios, Art:

  • Gillian Dickinson, Age 17, Hometown, Boynton Beach, FL
  • Will Landis-Croft, Age 17, Portland, OR
  • Joseph Leppo, Age 17, Atlantic Beach, FL
  • Jonathan Olivares Paramo, Age 18, Vista, CA
  • Taylor Powers, Age 18, Houston, TX
  • Markel Randle, Age 17, Wichita, KS
  • Hallie Wilson, Age 17, Richmond, VA
  • Simba (Haoran) Xu, Age 17, Ashburnham, MA

Gold Portfolios, Writing:

  • Sandra Chen, Age 17, Pleasanton, CA
  • Brianna Kline Costa, Age 17, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raven Little, Age 17, New Orleans, LA
  • Athena Nassar, Age 17, Peachtree City, GA
  • Caleb Pan, Age 17, Denver, CO
  • Ariana Smith, Age 17, Las Vegas, NV
  • Divjot Walia, Age 17, Pearland, TX
  • Sophia Zhao, Age 17, Newark, DE


Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers: “For 96 years, the Awards have recognized the creative promise of individuals like Andy Warhol, Kay WalkingStick, Sylvia Plath, Stephen King, Richard Avedon, and Zac Posen, and today we honor more than 2,700 teens as they receive national recognition in the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. These students join a legacy of teens facilitating important dialogue through their art and writing, and we celebrate their creativity and innovation as the next generation of great American artists and writers.”

Lucianne Walkowicz, noted astronomer, multimedia artist, former chair of Astrobiology at the Library of Congress, and 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Alumni Achievement Award Recipient: “I am honored to be receiving this year’s Alumni Achievement Award from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. It was my Scholastic Art & Writing Award that inspired me to begin combining my two passions; infusing my art into my career in the sciences, and vice versa. The Awards changed the trajectory of my life’s work, and I’m so excited to see how this national recognition impacts these unbelievably talented students for years to come.”

2019 Special Scholarships

  • The New York Life Award: Provides six scholarships of $1,000 each to students whose work explores personal grief, loss, and bereavement, and exemplifies how the arts can act as a positive outlet to cope with these issues. This year’s recipients are: Zoe Chen, Age 18, Lynnfield, MA; Emma Jones, Age 18, Plainfield, IL; Sofia Liaw, Age 18, Fayetteville, NY; Eric Schlesinger, Age 17, Naperville, IL; Makayla Wach, Age 16, Pittsburgh, PA; and Brian Wee, Age 18, Erie, PA.
  • One Earth Award: New this year, this award provides four students with $1,000 scholarships for creative works that encourage the awareness of, and meaningful responses to, pressing issues of human-caused climate change. Additionally, special awards are also available for students from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. This year’s recipients are: Kaylee Chen, Age 13, Irmo, SC; Fiona Luo, Age 15, Cupertino, CA; Minda Silvestre, Age 18, Milwaukee, WI; and Aysha Zackria, Age 17, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
  • The Herblock Award for Editorial Cartoon: Sponsored by The Herb Block Foundation, the Editorial Cartoon category celebrates the legacy of four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Herb Block and his remarkable contribution to American history and free expression. The three teen artists who will receive $1,000 scholarships for their outstanding drawings, illustrations, or animations offering commentary on current events or political topics are: Victoria Lu, Age 16, South Hempstead, NY; Zitong Wang, Age 16, Mercer Island, WA; and Angelina Yu, Age 15, Cedar Knolls, NJ.
  • Civic Expression Award: Underwritten by The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, this award provides $1,000 scholarships for original works of art or writing that promote responsible civic life. The six recipients are: Sabine Croy, Age 15, Churubusco, IN; Sabrina Guo, Age 13, Oyster Bay, NY; Isabella Newman, Age 16, Richmond, VA; Sigourney Robinson, Age 17, Delray Beach, FL; Lanyce Williams, Age 17, Bartlett, TN; and Tiffany Zheng, Age 13, Flushing NY.
  • The ESA Foundation Award for Video Game Design: Underwritten by the Entertainment Software Association Foundation, this award provides two students who exhibit excellence in video game design with $1,000 scholarships. This year’s recipients are: Melissa Ran, Age 15, Edison, NJ; and Ella Wilson, Age 16, Schertz, TX.
  • The Alliance/ACT-SO Journey Award: In partnership with the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO), this award provides travel stipends for select ACT-SO scholars who receive National Medals to attend the National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall. This year’s recipients are: Katlyn Powell, Age 17, San Antonio, TX; and Zion Thompson, Age 14, Albuquerque, NM.
  • Additional Awards and scholarships for students are made possible through the support of Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Command Web Offset, The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, The New York Times, The Roome Fund, and Scholastic Inc.

2019 National Events (New York, NY)

  • June 6, National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall: The national Gold Portfolio, Gold Medal, and Silver Medal with Distinction recipients will be honored at Carnegie Hall, with appearances by notable celebrities and creative leaders.
  • May 31–June 8, Art.Write.Now.2019 National Exhibition: More than 1,000 of the top Scholastic Art & Writing Awards visual and literary works will be on display for the public at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design at The New School, and Pratt Institute’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City.

Judging Criteria

All art and writing submissions are blindly judged based on the same three criteria that have been in place since the program’s founding: originality, technical skill, and emergence of personal vision or voice. Student works are first adjudicated regionally through more than 100 local Affiliates of the Alliance. Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices Nominations are celebrated within their communities through exhibitions and ceremonies. Gold Key works are then judged nationally by an impressive panel of creative-industry experts to receive Gold, Silver, American Visions & Voices, and Gold or Silver with Distinction Portfolio medals.

About the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Founded in 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and are made possible through the generosity of Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset Co., The New York Times, New York Life Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, The Herb Block Foundation, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, Golden Artist Colors, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Entertainment Software Association  Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Amazon Literary Partnership, and numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Poetry Foundation.

For more information about the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, visit www.artandwriting.org. Additional details about the Awards can be found in the Scholastic media room: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/artandwriting.