Last night, 800 of the country’s most talented teen artists and writers gathered at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City to be recognized as National Medalists in the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards—the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens, presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
Marc Brown, the Emmy® Award-winning children’s author, illustrator, and creator of the children’s book and television series Arthur, received his Scholastic Award in 1963 for a hand-colored woodcut. During the National Ceremony, he went on stage to receive the 2018 Alumni Achievement Award, presented by R.L. Stine, author of the worldwide bestselling Goosebumps series. Marc said:
“Every child needs one person to believe in them...My high school art teacher who entered that woodcut in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards really did give me the encouragement I needed. So, after 55 years, tonight I get to thank the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards for finding promise in me.”
Golden Globe®-nominated actor Ansel Elgort, third poet laureate of Philadelphia Yolanda Wisher, and contemporary artist José Parlá encouraged students to pursue their innovative visions, and congratulated them for joining the ranks of notable Awards alumni—Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, and Stephen King to name a few.
“As artists, we get to see the world through our own eyes, and then make art that has to do with that. That’s why, as an artist, you have the ability to become an original and a new thinker. And no matter how wild your ideas are, you have to make them come true. That’s how you will be happy,” said Ansel to students in the audience.
This year, a record-breaking 346,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level in the program’s 29 categories, which include journalism, photography, video game design, poetry, and editorial cartoons. From there, more than 2,800 teens in grades 7–12 from the U.S., Canada, and American schools abroad received national recognition. Sixteen high school seniors received the program’s highest national honor—the Gold Medal Portfolio—which includes a $10,000 scholarship (check out their impressive work here).
Once again, we were completely blown away by the bold voices and fearlessness of this year’s National Medalists and we can’t wait to see where their creative journeys take them! To see yesterday’s excitement on social media, check out #GoldKey and follow the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Photos by Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Alliance for Young Artists & Writers