What a night!
Last night, more than 750 students artists & writers, their families and educators from across the U.S. traveled to Carnegie Hall in NYC for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Ceremony.
Emmy® Award-winning actress Tina Fey, fashion designer Zac Posen and actress Rose Byrne took the stage throughout the night, speaking to students about the importance of their creative expression. Tina opened the ceremonious night:
“Having the experience and achievement of what you’ve already done, the great thing is that no matter what you end up doing, you’ve already accessed the creative part of your life and of yourself. You have all had the experience of making something where there once was nothing, so you know that anything is possible.”
Fashion designer and Awards alumnus Zac Posen presented this year’s Alumni Achievement Award to Adler Planetarium Astronomer and co-founder of the JustSpace Alliance, Lucianne Walkowicz. Lucianne earned a Scholastic Art & Writing Award for a painting she created as a high school student. She spoke about how she balances being an artist and scientist:
“As someone who’s made their career in the sciences as opposed to the arts, I really have found it challenging at times to maintain space for my artistic practice in my life. In part that’s because there are 24 hours in a day and you’re supposed to eat and sleep some of that time, but also it’s because we live in a world where people sometimes try to put us in boxes so that we can be easier to define. And that is to be resisted at all costs.”
22nd Poet Laureate of the U.S. and Pulitzer Prize recipient Tracy K. Smith also graced the stage and encouraged students to keep writing, creating and congratulated them for joining the ranks of notable Awards alumni—Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, and Stephen King to name a few.
This year, 340,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level. More than 2,700 teens in grades 7–12 from the U.S., Canada, and American schools abroad went on to receive national recognition. Sixteen high school seniors received the program’s highest national honor—the Gold Medal Portfolio—which includes a $10,000 scholarship (you can check out their stunning work here).
Congratulations to all of the medalists and see you next year!
All photos: Stuart Ramson/AP Images for Alliance for Young Artists & Writers