Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Marks 100 Years of Celebrating Young Artists and Writers

 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients Joyce Carol Oates and Tracy Reese, and More Than 2,000 National Medalists from Across the Country were Honored during the 2023 National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall on June 8

New York Life Recognized with Alliance for Young Artists & Writers’ Leadership Award

June 9, 2023 – New York, NY – The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for young artists and writers in grades 7-12, celebrated their 100th anniversary during the 2023 National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall. The event honored acclaimed program alumni and more than two thousand national student medalists from across the United States, U.S. territories and military bases, and Canada. 
 
The June 8 Ceremony featured a poetry reading by Scholastic Awards alumna and Class of 2017 National Student Poet Kinsale Drake, a centennial video featuring Drake and two other alumni, filmmaker Ken Burns and illustrator Gordon C. James, and a special address by actor Derek Luke. Alumnus and artist Derek Fordjour presented author Joyce Carol Oates and fashion designer Tracy Reese with the 2023 Alumni Achievement Award, each having received a Scholastic Award as high school students in 1956 and 1981, respectively. Reese and Oates gave remarks focused on the validation the Scholastic Awards gave them and how the honor was a fortifying experience for their careers in fashion and writing, respectively. 
 
Christopher Wisniewski, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit presenter of the Awards, shared, “It is an honor to celebrate the longstanding legacy and impact of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, including Alumni Award recipients Joyce Carol Oates and Tracy Reese, as well as the ‘next generation’ of talent. From the first students who authored pieces of writing published in a Scholastic magazine one hundred years ago, to each teen we celebrate today, the teens recognized in this program have unique visions that are inspiring and bold. In validating their efforts, our program points toward the future.”
 
In the centennial program year, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards received more than 300,000 works of art and writing submissions from more than 100,000 students in every state in the nation, U.S. territories, and Canada. The accomplished students honored throughout the event join a famed group of Scholastic Awards recipients which, in addition to the above-mentioned alumni, includes Truman Capote, Amanda Gorman, John Lithgow, Sylvia Plath, Zac Posen, Robert Redford, Tschabalala Self, Kay WalkingStick, Andy Warhol, Charles White, and more.
 
The evening also included the presentation of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers’ Leadership Award to long-term partner and Centennial Sponsor New York Life. In conjunction with the Awards’ 100th anniversary, the New York Life Foundation has committed a $1.2 million grant over the next four years as a continuation of its more than a decade-long partnership with the Alliance. The grant supports teens who have had the opportunity to express themselves and reflect on their grief, personal losses, and healing, through the presentation of the New York Life Award—a scholarship initiative within the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Nearly 100 students have been awarded New York Life Award scholarships, with their works published in 22 anthologies and featured in 22 exhibitions. Further, nearly 1,000 students and educators have participated in workshops across the country and online to further creative practices, investigate their feelings, and build supportive environments. 
 
“Together with the Alliance, we are proud to offer the New York Life Award to feature the art and writing works by young people who are courageous enough to explore personal grief, death, and bereavement. Providing a creative outlet for students to express their feelings about loss is more important than ever, as we continue to grapple the tremendous human toll and mental health issues caused by the pandemic,” said President of New York Life Foundation and SVP, Corporate Responsibility, New York Life Heather Nesle
 
Following the Ceremony, the Awards’ Centennial Gala took place at the legendary Ziegfeld Ballroom. The evening, benefitting the Alliance, was the largest and highest-grossing fundraising event for the organization, bringing in over $750,000 for scholarships, educators’ awards, and general operating funds. Approximately 300 guests from the art, philanthropy, and publishing worlds attended the Gala.  
 
The Alliance announced a number of significant gifts from generous individuals and institutions in conjunction with the Awards’ Centennial year. The organization is a beneficiary of gifts in memory of Maurice R. Robinson, Florence L. Robinson, and Richard Robinson, whose visions for the Awards have endured and brought the Awards to their milestone moment. Additional gifts include a $250,000 pledge over five years from Blick Art Materials, to underwrite fee waivers and help enable teens with financial challenges to participate in the Awards; a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies through its Digital Accelerator program, to rebuild the Awards’ portal; and a generous contribution of $100,000 each from The Jay Pritzker Foundation and from an anonymous donor, among other gifts. 
 
Video and photos from the 2023 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall can be found here: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/artandwriting  
 
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 New York Life Foundation, The Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Command Companies, The Herb Block Foundation, The Jay Pritzker Foundation, Quad, Blick Art Materials, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts, The New York Times, DHIFI, Inc., RBC Foundation USA, Morgan Stanley, Change CX, Lindenmeyr Book Publishing Papers, Garcia Family Foundation, and numerous other individual, foundation, and corporate funders; and, for the National Student Poets Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Hearthland Foundation, the Poetry Foundation, and Academy of American Poets.
 
For more information about the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, visit artandwriting.org. Additional details about the Awards can be found in the Scholastic media room: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/artandwriting.
 
Media Contacts: 
Carolyn Nurnberg Spungin, cnurnberg@rubenstein.com 
Allyson Barkan, abarkan@scholastic.com 
 

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 Credit: Photos by Jason DeCrow/AP Images for Alliance for Young Artists & Writers