NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation's longest-running, most prestigious recognition initiative for creative teens, is now open and offering more opportunities than ever before for all public, private and home schooled students in grades 7-12. As the largest source of scholarships for young artists and writers, the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers annually bestows 15 high school seniors with the highest possible honor, the Portfolio Gold Medal, which is accompanied by a $10,000 scholarship. In 2014, a 16 th Portfolio Gold will be awarded, thanks to the generosity of the program's donors who provided additional funds in honor of the program's 90 th year. Further, the Alliance partners with over 60 colleges and universities to make more than $8 million in scholarships available to winning high school seniors, with additional cash awards offered to students of all grades, as well as teachers.
"We believe the world needs both makers and breakers – those committed to expressing themselves creatively, who push the boundaries of expression and challenge the rest of us to do the same," said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. "These are the leaders of tomorrow who are learning right now, via the arts, to see the world differently and provide new ideas and visions. Through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, we're proud to encourage them on their path to scholarships and the opportunity to showcase their work on a national level."
Students in the U.S., Canada or in American schools abroad may submit original works in any of the Awards' 28 art and writing categories. All works are evaluated based on originality, technical skill and the emergence of a personal vision or voice, first regionally through more than 100 affiliates of the Alliance and then nationally by an impressive panel of creative-industry experts. Through a blind judging process, students' submissions are judged by luminaries in the visual and literary arts such as Nikki Giovanni, Red Grooms, Paul Giamatti, Faith Ringgold, Wangechi Mutu, David Sedaris and Andres Serrano, who have served as past jurors.Since its founding in 1923, the Awards program has developed an impressive legacy of identifying the early promise of some of our nation's most outstanding visionaries. Notable past Award alumni include Truman Capote, Philip Pearlstein, Sylvia Plath, Andy Warhol, John Updike and Stephen King who won when they were teens. In more recent years, famous names such as Myla Goldberg, Paul Chan, Zac Posen, Lena Dunham and Erik Madigan Heck have become alumni of the program. Teenagers across the nation continue to astound through this unique opportunity to be noticed for their creative talents. More than 230,000 submissions were received for the 2013 program year. From this incredible pool of art and writing works, nearly 60,000 regional and 1,600 national winners joined the ranks of prominent Awards alumni, proving that the program's original mission, to provide students who are accomplished in the arts with the same honors as their athletic classmates, is alive and thriving today. Deadlines for art and writing submissions vary by region, occurring throughout the winter months. National Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners will be announced in March 2014. In the meantime, the Alliance will release its annual anthology, The Best Teen Writing of 2013 and will launch this year's traveling exhibition, Art.Write.Now.Tour 2013-14, which will be on display for the public in Savannah, GA, Albuquerque, NM, Pittsburgh, PA and Laramie, WY. Additionally, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services and Alliance for Young Artists & Writers will announce the new class of National Student Poets, the nation's highest honor for youth poets presenting original work, which is open exclusively to winners of national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in poetry. These students will serve as national poetry ambassadors for one year beginning on September 22, 2013 when they are appointed during a special ceremony at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. The Alliance is grateful for its generous sponsors, who provide funds to support and produce the Awards: Scholastic Inc., the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, Command Web Offset Co., the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, The New York Times, The National Endowment for the Arts, Blick Art Materials & Utrecht Art Supplies, The Gedenk Movement, 3D Systems, Golden Artist Colors, Bloomberg LP, Amazon.com, the Bernstein Family Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and additional contributions from numerous other individual, foundation and corporate funders. For more information about the Alliance, visit www.artandwriting.org. Additional details about the Awards can be found in the Media Room. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, identifies teenagers with exceptional artistic and literary talent and brings their remarkable work to a national audience through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Founded in 1923, the Awards program is the longest-running, most prestigious initiative of its kind, having fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students through recognition, exhibitions and publications. Over the past six years alone, students have submitted more than a million works of art and writing and over $30 million has been made available in scholarships and awards to top winning participants. The Alliance partners with more than 100 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 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 national poetry winners. More information about the Alliance and its programs can be found at www.artandwriting.org. SOURCE Scholastic Inc.