For 100 years, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have offered creative teens a safe space to freely express themselves creatively through drawings, poetry, paintings, fashion design, short stories, essays, and at times through composing music, soap carving, fingerpainting, and more.
When museums were still debating whether photography was an art form worthy of display, the Awards added photography as a category to give teens another avenue for self-expression. Through the core tenets of judging work based on originality, skill, and personal vision and voice, the Awards have always been a place where freedom of expression is valued and recognized. Today, hundreds of thousands of teens from all walks of life and from every part of the country enter the Awards for the opportunity to have their work seen by literary and arts professionals, giving them the confidence and encouragement to continue expressing themselves—their thoughts, their questions, their perception of the world around them—creatively.
Celebrate a century of the Awards with a look back at what the program has meant to some of our alumni. Filmmaker Ken Burns, poet Kinsale Drake, and illustrator Gordon C. James speak about the importance of creativity and recognition at a young age. These three alumni represent the millions of creative teens whose lives have been transformed by the Awards and who have forged paths in the arts, literature, and beyond over the past century.