National 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Recipients Celebrated at Carnegie Hall

Mike Barrett,, 212-343-6570
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Celebrity guests Paul Chan, Ellie Kemper, Hunter March, Michelle Obama, Amy Schumer, and Allison Williams honored America’s most creative teen artists and writers

2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards video highlight reel

NEW YORK – June 9, 2017 – More than 680 creative teens from across the country gathered at Carnegie Hall in New York City last night to be recognized as national recipients of the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the country's longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for students in grades 7–12 – administered by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Special guests honoring these teen artists and writers included: Ellie Kemper, Hunter March (Awesomeness TV), Amy Schumer, and Allison Williams. Award-winning artist Paul Chan, who received a Scholastic Art & Writing Award when he was 17 years old living in Omaha, Nebraska, received the Alumni Achievement Award. In addition, in a special video appearance, Michelle Obama congratulated this year’s five National Student Poets, saying their work was “living proof of the power of poetry to change people’s lives.” For video and photos from the event, visit:

In addition, students will have their works on display at the Art.Write.Now.2017 National Exhibition. This curated exhibit of the National Medalists’ work is free and open to the public from June 2–12 at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design at The New School and Pratt Institute’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery. The exhibit will feature more than 1,000 original visual and literary works. The “Student Showcase,” held on June 9 at the galleries, will engage audiences of all ages with student readings, art talks, and film screenings highlighting student work, as well as hands-on art workshops. To view the work, visit


  • 2017 Program Year: A record-breaking 330,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level in the Awards’ 29 categories, which include poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, video game design and more. Twenty-seven hundred teens representing all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and American schools abroad received national recognition.
  • Gold Medal Portfolio recipients: 16 high school seniors received the program’s highest national honor, the Gold Medal Portfolio, which includes a $10,000 scholarship. In total, the Alliance awards more than $300,000 in scholarships annually to top Awards recipients. The Alliance also partners with colleges and universities to earmark scholarships for college-bound Scholastic Awards recipients.
  • Notable Alumni: Since the program’s founding in 1923, the Awards have fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students, including renowned alumni who have gone on to become leaders in their fields, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Charles White, Philip Pearlstein, Sylvia Plath, Kay WalkingStick, Luis Jiménez, Ken Burns, Stephen King, Lena Dunham, Richard Linklater, and Zac Posen.
  • Sponsored Awards:
    • The first-ever New York Life Award, sponsored by the New York Life Foundation, provides $1,000 scholarships to six students who have experienced the loss of a close loved one and who have explored loss in their creative work.
    • The Herblock Award for Editorial Cartoon, sponsored by The Herb Block Foundation, celebrates the legacy of four-time Pulitzer Prize–winning political cartoonist Herb Block and his remarkable contribution to American history and free expression with $1,000 scholarships awarded to three teen artists.
    • The Neiman Marcus Awards provide a $1,000 scholarship for outstanding work in Fashion and an additional $1,000 scholarship for outstanding work in Jewelry.
    • The RBC “Flaunt It” Award, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada, is a $1,000 scholarship that celebrates teens’ outstanding work, whether in art or writing, that explores the theme: “The things that make me different, make me, me.”
    • Additional Awards and scholarships for students are made possible through the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The New York Times and the Gedenk Movement.

Paul Chan, Artist, offered the following message to his fellow Alumni: “What you've done is enter into a grand tradition filled with misfits and outcasts and dreamers. Art isn’t just something you make, but also something to belong to, like a family, or a club…. Keep making art. Keep practicing that open-mindedness, that courage. Because if you do, you’ll be rewarded with something much more valuable than any award. You’ll learn to expand and deepen your creative instinct so it shows up not only in your drawing, or painting, or Instagram page, but also in how you live.”

Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, added: “It’s an honor to celebrate 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Award recipients at the historic Carnegie Hall, because tonight, they themselves are stepping into history, joining a legacy of Scholastic Award alums that includes Andy Warhol and Joyce Carol Oates, and the artist we’re honoring here tonight, Paul Chan. We are inspired by their bravery and creativity. We also honor their educators, and educators across the country who support the development of creative young people. People often tell me the Awards make them feel hopeful about the future of the arts, and that hope and optimism is in abundance here tonight.”

The Alliance of Young Artists & Writers is grateful to our generous sponsors, who provide funds to support and produce all our programs, including the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Art.Write.Now.Tour, Scholastic Awards Summer Scholarships, Workshops, and more: Scholastic Inc., The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset Co., The New York Times, New York Life Foundation, The Herb Block Foundation, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, Gedenk Movement, Royal Bank of Canada, Golden Artist Colors, Neiman Marcus, Garcia Family Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, ESA Foundation, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Circle, Amazon Literary Partnership, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Empire State Building, and numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program: President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Poetry Foundation, Library of Congress, and Academy of American Poets.

For more information about the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, visit the Scholastic media room: