Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Eyes on the Prize: Alia Bringas-Brand and Vicky Brown

Josephine Djonovic  //  Apr 6, 2018

Eyes on the Prize: Alia Bringas-Brand and Vicky Brown

This year's 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards recognized 16 high school seniors who received the program’s highest national honor, the Gold Medal Portfolio, which includes a $10,000 scholarship.

Throughout April and May, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify students with exceptional artistic and literary talent and present their remarkable work to the world through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, will showcase two Gold Medal Portfolio recipients on their blog. This week, they are celebrating the work of Vicky Brown (Greenville, SC) and Alia Bringas-Brand (Interlochen, MI).

Vicky Brown

“The collection of work in Life Cycle of Things We Hold On To represents a lack of change, a doubling and redoubling of actions. The collection seeks to answer the dilemma of resisting an onslaught of change, something inevitable…I find that through writing, I have the ability to process and observe where I exist in the world of tension and constant upheaval and how I choose to react. I allow my environment, somewhere familiar or somewhere new and distant, to influence me. I allow my culture and its role in a universe that is constantly being altered to change me. And in turn, writing gives me the ability to create and process relationships in order to portray my own life cycle, our universal life cycle, and the things we choose to hold on to.”

Alia Bringas-Brand

“My work is about time and change. I make time-based sculptures with nontraditional materials. In my work I explore sugar and other easily changed materials as a stand in for myself as I change and explore the artistic growth process. It is important to me to always have a sense of experimentation when making because it has pushed me the furthest and has made me evolve and think the most as I grow and change.”

Scroll down for samples from their award-winning portfolios!


Evolution by Vicky Brown

Three-hundred thousand years ago
Homo heidelbergensis reached
Iberian hills, found in a pit of bones
deep enough for you to fill with the
museum’s collections of porcelain cups,
Civil War uniforms, & fragments
of the atomic bomb dropped on Mars Bluff.
You hold my hand through each exhibit,
tell me the Mesozoic reptiles behind glass
aren’t real & the wide human skulls, neither
are they. Their chins, like ham croquettes,
set them apart from wild, hairy things,
chimeras or chimpanzees. You ask: How old
is the Earth? Billions. You say twelve thousand.
Maybe we’ve been put together like faded bouquets
of pelvis fossils & rivulets of gazpacho blood.
In a dream, you left rocks at my doorstep,
the way nineteenth century men
crawled into tunnels at Atapuerca & made teeth
necklaces for their lovers.
You ask: Where did they go after they died?
Into the pit. Glorified with nothing but
thick skin & chants, chapped lips.


Ephemeral Fountain by Alia Bringas-Brand

To see more Gold Medal Portfolio recipients, past and present, visit the Eyes on the Prize series on the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers blog.