90th annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards celebration starts TODAY!

button-2013WebcastAfter much anticipation, the national celebration of the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is finally here! The Awards have a rich, 90-year history of celebrating “students who demonstrate superior talent and achievement in things of the spirit and of the mind,” as Maurice R. Robinson (the founder of Scholastic Inc. and the Art & Writing Awards) once put it. Over the past 90 years, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have fostered the creativity and talent of millions of students through recognition, exhibitions and publications, and the program’s reach only continues to grow. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers–the nonprofit that has presented the Awards since 1994–now partners with 116 regional affiliates across the country to bring the Awards to local communities, and works with a network of more than 60 colleges and universities to increase the range of scholarship and award opportunities.

The national celebration officially kicks off today! All day long, two giant screens at 1515 Broadway in Times Square will feature the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and tonight, the Empire State Building will be lit in gold to honor the student winners.

This year is perhaps the most exciting yet for the Art & Writing Awards: they received more than 230,000 submissions from talented teens across the nation, and tonight, more than 800 of those students, along with their families and teachers, will gather at world-famous Carnegie Hall for a special ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments. After a congratulatory video message from First Lady Michelle Obama, students will take their bows, sharing the spotlight with poet Terrance Hayes, actress and arts activist Sarah Jessica Parker, fashion designer Zac Posen, who will be presented with the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award. (Fun fact: Mr. Posen won two Scholastic Awards in 1999–one for one for an essay and another for a piece in the Textile & Fabric Design category!)

Tomorrow, June 1, the Awards’ National Student Exhibition, ART. WRITE. NOW, will open at Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Manhattan Gallery. There, select Award-winning student art and writing will be on display through June 15, and starting in the fall, a traveling exhibit of student work, also entitled ART. WRITE. NOW., will visit cities across the United States. (The exhibition and accompanying public programs are co-sponsored by the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design.) For examples of this year’s Award-winning artwork, check out our Pinterest board!

As we celebrate these talented teens and their artistic and literary accomplishments, we recognize that there are hundreds of equally amazing students across the country who submitted to this year’s Art & Writing Awards but who couldn’t make it to New York City for the national events, so–for the first time ever–the Carnegie Hall ceremony will be webcast live. We encourage students and their families and teachers across the nation to join in the celebration! You can find more information on how to register for the webcast here. (Reminder: it’s at 6pm EST / 3pm PST.)

Even if you’re not in NYC this weekend, you can  join in the national celebration via social media by following the Art & Writing Awards on their Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram, Tumblr, and blog. (Don’t forget to use the hashtag #AWAwards!) And whether you’re a 2013 Award winner, a proud alum, a parent, a teacher, or simply an arts lover, we invite you to show your support of the Awards by adding this badge to your Facebook profile picture, or by changing your profile picture to the Scholastic Awards’ 90th anniversary logo. Looking for additional ways to get involved? Check out this blog post from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

Again, congratulations to all who submitted to this year’s Art & Writing Awards, and a special shout out to the National Medalists! So excited to celebrate tonight!

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