Year after year, I am personally blown away by the talent, creativity and hard work of teens in grades 7-12 that submit to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation's longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.
In the 2015 program year of the Awards, teens from every corner of the country submitted over 300,000 works of art and writing—a record-breaking number! From jewelry design to poetry, comic art to photography and everything in between, incredible works poured in to be judged by regional Affiliates of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
Back in March, we announced this year’s national winners, with 16 students receiving the highest honor, the Portfolio Gold Medal, which comes with a $10,000 scholarship. These high school seniors blew judges away with their original portfolios and in June, they will travel to New York City to be honored at the annual National Ceremony at world-famous Carnegie Hall.
You can check out the Portfolio Gold Medalists’ bios and see their Award-winning works below! And be sure to keep an eye out for these teens as they follow in the footsteps of other notable Awards alumni (fun fact: Andy Warhol won a Scholastic Art & Writing Award when he was a teenager)!
Are you headed to Carnegie Hall this year? Be sure to follow @artandwriting on Twitter and use #GoldKey!
The 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Award Portfolio Gold Medalists - Artists:
Tanner is a true artist at heart. His complex ink drawings reflect his thoughts and the chaotic world around him. “My style has grown into what I now refer to as a Condention, self-defined as a complex labyrinth, maze or puzzle; in this case, a labyrinth of the mind,” he explains.
Omar’s chalk pastel drawings are all about color and texture. Using bright blues, pinks and greens, he captures an abstract world based on the subtleties of light, contour and lines.
Benji’s photojournalistic portfolio documents the world around him. He tells vivid stories through his photography, capturing stunning moments in time.
This aspiring art teacher was recognized for his outstanding photography. Eamon’s simplistic black and white portfolio plays with the textures, patterns and lines of everyday buildings and objects around us.
Aylen’s powerful drawings feature her biggest inspiration—her mom. Through her portfolio, she captures the immense physical toll that stress and hard work can have on the human body.
Vanessa’s portfolio features hyper realistic drawings—done entirely in colored pencil—illustrating the beauty of everyday moments in time that can often be overlooked. You have to look closely at her drawings or else you’d think they were photographs!
“My goal is to show off the fun side of life in my work and make the world a little bit funnier,” said Max. His Award-winning videos tell hilarious stories through humor and truly impressive animation skills.
Vinny breaks the mold with sculptures made of cement, wood, plastic… and even broken cell phones! He is interested in exploring human interaction with space and shapes by examining at how we interact with our surroundings, both digital and natural.
The 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Award Portfolio Gold Medalists - Writers:
Ron’s writing combines humor, heritage and imagination into one portfolio. He draws upon his passion for journalism and his relationship with his family to tell stores through poetry, flash fiction and more.
Writing is a very personal experience for Trace. Through his poetry, he explores racial issues and tensions, drawing on current events and his own life. If you think reading Trace’s poetry is powerful, you should hear him perform it!
Edil finds inspiration for her writing within her family and her Somali roots. “Somalia is in every part of me, especially in my writing,” she explains. “Writing makes me not forget that the stories and history of my parents and my own started long before we came to America.”
Grant’s writing is a combination of poetry and short stories focused on the complexities of human relationships. If you read closely, you’ll notice a reoccurring nature-inspired theme throughout his works.
Alexis’s writing ranges from flash fiction to dramatic script and poetry works infused with dynamic characters. Through her writing, Alexis examines complexities of race and culture, encouraging the reader to find self-reflection within her work.
Hannah is passionate about nature. He writing is a combination of beautifully vivid poetry and short fiction stories, which are heavily influenced by her personal experiences and her love of the outdoors.
As a passionate LGBT advocate, Amelia hopes that her writing will empower others. Her portfolio features journalism works focused on telling untold stories, pushing boundaries and bringing new perspectives to light for the reader.
“The main goal for most of my work is to make my readers feel a sense of ease. Some of my pieces are happy, a lot of others feel kind of sad,” said Monique. Her writing is packed with emotion in the form of eloquent poetry and short stories.
Image: Broken Shells by Vanessa Sosa