“Creative, innovative thinking, the hallmark of artists and writers, is fundamental to building economic strength, and new and better ways of seeing the world. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards validates the creativity of students in their teens to encourage them on a path to contribute great ideas that will benefit society.”
-Dick Robinson, President and CEO, Scholastic Inc.
For more than 90 years, Scholastic Inc., through financial support, in-kind donations, pro-bono services, and employee volunteer hours, has contributed to the literary talents, artistic works, and recognition of children and teens. As the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, Scholastic has contributed tens of millions of dollars to the arts since the company was founded in 1920. Scholastic further encourages a love of reading, writing and art in areas of need by donating millions of books and resources through book grants. The company received a 2013 BCA 10 Award, nominated by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
In 1923, just three years after founding Scholastic, Maurice R. Robinson created the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards to recognize the exceptional creative talents of our nation’s youth. Mr. Robinson firmly believed it was important “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.”
Scholastic ran the Awards in-house until 1994, when a committed board of directors was assembled to start the nonprofit organization Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, which broadened the scope of the program and raised more money for scholarships. Teens nationwide have submitted more than 900,000 original works, and more than $45 million in scholarships has been earmarked for top regional and national Awards winners by partnering colleges. Scholastic has published several novels by teen writers discovered through the Awards and a number of winners have gone on to successful publishing careers, many of them with Scholastic.
Each year in the program’s history, Scholastic employees have donated hundreds of thousands of hours to the Arts & Writing Awards. From the very first year and continuing to today, they give their time and expertise by judging art and writing submissions, as well as providing operational, technical, legal, and public relations support. In 2012 alone, more than 150 employees volunteered their time to regional and national judging. More volunteers assist in the production of the Awards ceremony, held each year at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Scholastic has received tremendously positive feedback from staff involvement with the Alliance, finding that the partnership acts as a great tool to keep employees engaged in the workplace. Scholastic’s headquarters in New York City is lined with a collection of student artwork and the lobby of the building houses a rotating exhibition of current award-winning student work.
Beyond the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the company believes in the power of art to inspire children to further their literacy skills and embrace reading. This is embodied in the company’s global literacy campaign to support every child’s right to read, Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life., which includes engaging renowned children’s illustrators to create their artistic interpretation of the campaign message through posters.
Photo: National Portfolio Gold Medalists at Carnegie Hall with Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Executive Director Virginia McEnerney and special guests, Zac Posen, Terrance Hayes, Usher, and Sarah Jessica Parker.