Everyone faces challenges; but not everyone has the tools to overcome them. What happens when companies provide resources and recognition to young people to work through these issues in creative, safe spaces? Change.
Scholastic Corporation, a New York-based publishing, education, and media company, hosts the yearly Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, recognizing youth creativity in the United States. By combining their company’s mission and their brand, Scholastic has created a powerful platform for New York City’s young artists.
The Scholastic Awards were created just three years after the company’s inception in 1920 with the aim of “enlarging the student’s concern for and understanding of today’s world,” and promoting “excellence in creative expression in all fields of learning, literature, and art.” Participants, ranging from grades 7 through 12, submit original works each year in art and writing categories such as architecture, painting, flash fiction, poetry, print making, and video game design. Prominent past award recipients include: Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, and Zac Posen.
Scholastic has attracted like-minded businesses, foundations, and scholarship partners at prestigious institutions like Parsons School of Design at the New School, School of Visual Art (SVA), and Purchase College SUNY, School of Art & Design. The New York Life Foundation Award, co-sponsored by the New York Life Foundation, recognizes “teens exploring issues of grief and bereavement in their creative work and provides six young artists and writers with $1,000 scholarships”. They also partner with major cultural institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they have showcased hundreds of works of art and writing by recipients of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. This is the highest regional recognition, which selects works based on “originality, technical skill, and emergence of a personal voice or vision.’’ New York City students submitted nearly 11,000 works for the 2017 awards, representing more than 300 schools from all five boroughs.
The Scholastic Awards are remarkable in their drive to encourage and elevate young artists who choose to work through challenging current events, politics, identity, and emotions. Scholastic Corporation is not only a literary and media company, but an institution that recognizes the importance of elevating young voices, art, community, and their company.
Winners of the 2018 awards will be announced this month.
Photo: Ghost Realm, Painting by Amadi Rubie, Grade 11, Age 16. Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, Oakland Gardens, NY