What do Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, and Sylvia Plath have in common? Each of them won a Scholastic Art & Writing Award as a teenager. The Scholastic Awards are part of a program, founded in 1923, that identifies and recognizes talented high school students for their art and writing.
Each year in early June, award recipients flock to New York City for a celebration of their art and writing. Scholastic honors award-winning students, their families, and their teachers during a ceremony at Carnegie Hall. Exhibitions, held at Parsons School of Design at The New School and the Pratt Manhattan Gallery, feature award-winning student artwork. Students have the opportunity to read their original writing at events around the city. The award winners also attend the Maker Prom, a dance party with interactive art stations where students can participate in fun, creative activities and meet their fellow award recipients.
A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
One of the most remarkable parts of the celebration in New York City is the opportunity for students to join a community. But the recognition and support provided by the awards often last much longer than the celebration. “The Scholastic Awards, to me, are a reward for my hard work,” says 18-year-old Anisa Rakaj, who won a Silver Medal for her painting portfolio, “[and] a way of supporting my dream of becoming a world-renowned artist.”
FINDING CONFIDENCE IN ART
Rafal Wielk, an 18-year-old native of Mazury, Poland, and winner of a Gold Medal in sculpture, says, “When I first moved to the U.S. [when I was 16], I did not know any English and was placed in art classes. . . I was frustrated with my new life in America.” Rafal, who now lives in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, says that the Awards have helped make his dreams possible. “Before receiving this Gold Medal, I was not thinking of going to college because I didn’t think I was good enough, and I had to help with the finances of my family. But now . . . I’m hoping to receive a scholarship so I can make my dream of going to college come true.” How to Apply The 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards will be open for submissions in the fall of 2015. Please visit artandwriting.org for information about how to submit your work.