Thursday December 20, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- As the Vermont affiliate for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center calls upon creative teens throughout the Green Mountain State, grades 7-12, to "be bold" and submit their work for the opportunity to gain recognition and scholarships.

Now in its 90th year, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious educational initiative supporting student achievement in the visual and literary arts. The deadline for submissions by Vermont teens is Dec. 31. Application instructions and additional information are available at www.brattleboromuseum.org or by contacting Susan Calabria at 802-257-0124, ext. 102, or education@brattleboromuseum.org.

The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center’s work as Vermont’s statewide coordinator of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is supported by the Amy E. Tarrant Foundation and New Chapter. Award-winning student work will be exhibited at BMAC from Feb. 16 to March 2. An Awards Ceremony, sponsored by Cabot Cheese, will take place on Saturday, March 2, at 1 p.m.

"We take seriously our mission to support today’s talented students -- the future professionals, creators and innovators," said Virginia McEnerney, executive director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the national nonprofit organization that presents the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. "We are honored to list famed artists and writers such as Andy Warhol and Sylvia Plath among our alumni, but we are just as proud of those who applied their talent for bold, original thought and creative problem-solving to successful careers in fields such as cancer research, astrophysics, toy design, community planning, and teaching."

Students can submit their work for blind adjudication in any of 28 categories, including film and animation, video game design, poetry, painting, sculpture, fashion design, journalism, photography and science fiction. A Creative Challenge called "Future New," new to the 2013 Awards in honor of its 90th anniversary, will encourage boundary-breaking, conceptual or socially-driven works that incorporate new technologies to make innovative art.

All pieces are evaluated on originality, technical skill, and the emergence of personal voice, first regionally through the Alliance’s 115 affiliates, and then nationally by a panel of renowned industry experts. Last year’s jurors included writer David Sedaris and cartoonist Roz Chast, plus Scholastic Award alumni illustrator Edward Sorel and graphic designer Michael Beirut.

Established in 1923 by Maurice R. Robinson, the founder of Scholastic Inc., the Awards program was designed "to give those high school students who demonstrate superior talent and achievement in things of the spirit and of the mind at least a fraction of the honors and rewards accorded to their athletic classmates for demonstrating their bodily skills." A bold idea at the time, this mission is still relevant today, as proven by the more than 700,000 submissions the Alliance has received over the past five years alone.

Each year, 15 graduating high school seniors are awarded a $10,000 cash scholarship as part of the Portfolio Gold Medal Award. Partnerships with more than 60 colleges and universities make nearly $5 million in scholarships available to winning high school seniors, with additional cash awards offered to students in all grades, as well as teachers.

The 2013 national Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners will be announced in the spring. In the meantime, the Alliance will release The Best Teen Writing of 2012 and will kick-off this year’s ART.WRITE.NOW traveling exhibition. Additionally, in partnership with the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Alliance will announce the inaugural class of the National Student Poets Program, the nation’s highest honor for young poets which is open exclusively to winners of national Scholastic Awards in poetry. These students will serve as national poetry ambassadors for one year beginning on Sept. 23, 2013 when they are appointed during a ceremony at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.