The nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in grades 7–12. This year two Pembroke Pines Charter West Middle School students received Honorable Mentions in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards presented by the Alliance.
Mariana Colicchio, a seventh grader and Alisa Chavez, an eighth grader were both students in Ms. Lucia Morales’ art class. The titles of their watercolor artworks were “Drowning” and “Love withstands no boundaries.” Ms. Morales, a teaching artist-visual arts instructor for grades six through eight, said she was impressed by the quality of work submitted by her students and the others nationwide. A record-breaking 320,000 works of art and writing were submitted for adjudication at the regional level in the Awards’ 29 categories, which include poetry, photography, sculpture, humor, editorial cartoons, video game design and more.
Sixteen high school seniors received the program’s highest national honor, the Gold Medal Portfolio, which includes a $10,000 scholarship. In total, the Alliance awards more than $250,000 in scholarships annually to top Awards recipients and their educators. The Alliance also partners with art institutes, colleges, and universities to earmark scholarships for college-bound Scholastic Awards recipients. Karina Raimont, a Curriculum Specialist at the Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School West Campus, said the Scholastic Awards look at art work submitted by students demonstrating technical skill, personal voice or vision, and originality.
Since the program’s founding in 1923, the Awards have fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students, including renowned alumni who have gone on to become leaders in their fields, including Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Philip Pearlstein, and Sylvia Plath. More recently, Stephen King, Richard Linklater, Zac Posen, and Lena Dunham received Scholastic Art & Writing Awards when they were teens. “We are always astonished by the sheer energy and ingenuity of the creative work that students produce, and by their bravery in putting it into the world for feedback from arts professionals,” said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the nonprofit organization that presents the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. “We hear from alumnae of the program every single day that receiving a Scholastic Award is life-changing, and we are thrilled to give that opportunity to talented students from across the country again this year.”
Likely, the most exciting part of the recognition program came June 2nd through the 12th when more than 1,000 of the top Scholastic Art & Writing Awards visual and literary work were displayed to the public at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design at The New School and Pratt Institute’s Pratt Manhattan Gallery in New York City.