NEW YORK, May 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On Friday, May 31 at Carnegie Hall, actress and arts advocate Sarah Jessica Parker and fashion designer Zac Posen will share the spotlight with the talented teens who received national honors in the 90 th annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. More than 800 teens from 47 states, along with their families and teachers, are expected to attend the celebration. There, 15 graduating seniors will receive Portfolio Gold Medals, the Awards' highest honor, which includes a $10,000 scholarship. For the first time in the Awards' 90-year history, the ceremony will be webcast live so people across the nation can share in the celebration.
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, and provides students across the country with opportunities for exhibition and publication of their work. The celebration of this year's winning students and teachers kicks off May 31, when two giant Times Square screens at 1515 Broadway will promote the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards every two minutes throughout the day, and the Empire State Building will be lit in gold to honor the student winners. After the Carnegie Hall ceremony, the Alliance's annual Gold Key Gala will take place at The Edison Hotel, and on June 1, the Awards' National Student Exhibition will open at Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Manhattan Gallery, showcasing select Award-winning student work.
At the May 31 ceremony at Carnegie Hall, Ms. Parker will congratulate the students and offer words of encouragement. "It takes courage as well as talent to step out as a writer or an artist, and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to personally congratulate these outstanding teens," Ms. Parker said. "Finding out that people other than your parents and your teachers truly believe in your work can validate the courage these teens have shown in presenting their work to the world, and help to carry them forward into their lives and their careers."Mr. Posen will be presented with the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award. "As a young person, your work is often not understood or appreciated by those around you, since some people feel you are too young to be a 'real' artist," said Mr. Posen. "To receive one of these Awards is an important moment in the life of a young artist or writer. It shows that someone believes in your work and sees something of promise in it." Video congratulations will also be delivered by First Lady Michelle Obama and Girls star and creator Lena Dunham, an alumna of the Awards. Other notable artists and writers who received a Scholastic Award when they were in high school include Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen King, John Lithgow, Robert Indiana, Ken Burns, John Baldessari, Truman Capote, John Updike, and Sylvia Plath. "When you look at the notable list of past winners, it is really clear that the Scholastic Awards have helped fuel America's creative output since they were established 90 years ago," said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. "The founder of the Awards, M.R. Robinson, who also founded Scholastic Inc., dreamed of a day when teenagers who are creative would receive the same kind of accolades as teenagers who are athletic. The Awards strive to do that every year by recognizing talented teens, first in their local communities and then on a national stage." The exhibits of winning students' work will be open to the public through June 15; starting in the fall, a traveling exhibit of student work entitled ART. WRITE. NOW. will visit cities across the United States, ensuring that work by these outstanding teens is accessible throughout the country. The exhibitions and accompanying public programs are co-sponsored by the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. 2013 marks the 90 th anniversary of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which attracted more participants than ever before, with more than 230,000 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 Edwidge Danticat, Myla Goldberg, Kurt Andersen, Red Grooms, and Elizabeth Wurtzel, among others. Works were judged on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal vision or voice. More than 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 $8.5 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 2013 national winners is available here. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is generously supported by Scholastic Inc., the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, The New York Times, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Command Web Offset Co., the AMD Foundation, Blick Art Materials, the National Endowment for the Arts, 3D Systems, New York Life, Bloomberg L.P., Ovation, Amazon.com, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust, the Bernstein Family Foundation, Duck Tape ®, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and 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. 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 900,000 pieces of work and more than $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. SOURCE Scholastic Inc.