Talented Teens Take Their Place on Stage at Carnegie Hall for the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Ceremony

Contact: Anne Sparkman




Special Address by Academy Award®-winning actress Meryl Streep;
Alumni Achievement Award presented to Edward Sorel; musician MC Lars to perform


New York, NY—May 23, 2012— Three-time Academy Award®-winning actress Meryl Streep, renowned artist Edward Sorel, and rapper MC Lars will share the spotlight at Carnegie Hall with the nation’s future in creativity-- the talented and ambitious teens who have achieved national honors in the 89th annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. More than 800 teens and their families and teachers, representing 46 states, are expected to attend the celebration, including 15 graduating seniors who will receive Portfolio Gold Medals and $10,000 scholarships.


Presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the country’s longest-running, most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative teenagers. The Awards is the largest program of its kind, and provides students across the country with opportunities for exhibition and publication of their work, as well as a series of celebratory events in New York City for national winners and their teachers. The celebration will kick-off on the night of May 31 when the Empire State Building will be lit in gold to honor student winners, and the Alliance’s annual Gold Key Gala will take place at The Altman Building following a special preview of the Awards’ National Student Exhibition at Parsons The New School for Design. At the June 1 ceremony at Carnegie Hall, Ms. Streep will congratulate the students and provide wisdom for them to take on their creative paths, Mr. Sorel will be presented with the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award, and MC Lars will perform.


“Young artists and writers need encouragement from someone other than their parents, and in supplying that pat on the back, these Scholastic Art & Writing Awards serve a valuable service,” noted Mr. Sorel, a regular art contributor to The Atlantic and The New Yorker. “Whether or not the winners choose the arts for a profession, the talent and sensitivity they have shown in their entries auger well for whatever they undertake later in life." Other notable artists and writers who received the Award when they were in high school include Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates, Zac Posen, John Lithgow, Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Ken Burns, John Baldessari, Truman Capote, and Sylvia Plath.


“The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is a special program because we seek out tomorrow’s creative leaders and encourage them early on to embrace their talent for thinking beyond the norm. In fact, in many cases we are the first to recognize these young minds,” said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. “Our alumni tell us time and time again that it was this first acknowledgement of their talent that solidified their drive toward a creative career. With that in mind, we take our recognition through scholarships, events, publications, and exhibits very seriously, and continue to work with our partners to grow the reach of the Awards, as well as the ways we can raise the awareness of these students’ impressive work.”


The Parsons exhibit recognizing these creative students will be open to the public through June 16. The exhibition and accompanying public programs are co-sponsored by the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center.  Starting in the fall, a traveling exhibit of student work entitled ART. WRITE. NOW will stop in four cities, ensuring that pieces created by these outstanding teens are accessible throughout the country.


2012 attracted more participants in The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards than ever before, with more than 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. Each student work was blindly adjudicated, first locally through the 116 affiliates of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, 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, and Roz Chast, among others. 


Works were judged on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal vision or voice. Ultimately, 1,600 outstanding students in grades 7-12, from throughout the nation, as well as students in American schools abroad, were chosen to receive national medals. Select honors provide students with cash awards totaling $200,000, and graduating seniors who received national medals are now eligible for an additional $5 million in scholarships from more than 60 colleges, universities, and art institutes across the country. The teachers of national winners were also recognized with Awards. A complete list of the 2012 national winners is available here.


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, the New York Life Foundation, Amazon.com, the Bernstein Family Foundation, 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. The travelling exhibition is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. As the program prepares for its 90th anniversary in 2013, the Alliance is calling all alumni to reconnect and join in the celebration.


For more information on The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, 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 alone, 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.