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Highlights from the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

The 2013 Portfolio Gold Medalists take their bow onstage at Carnegie Hall
The 2013 Portfolio Gold Medalists take their bow onstage at Carnegie Hall

What a weekend!

First of all, huge congratulations to the students who won National Medals in the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards! As always, we were absolutely blown away by the caliber of the student talent, and this year’s festivities felt extra-special as they marked the Awards’ 90th anniversary. Needless to say, the celebration that took place in New York City this past weekend was nothing short of awesome. More than 800 teens and their families and teachers gathered at Carnegie Hall on Friday night. Outside, the Empire State Building was lit in gold to honor the student winners, while inside, they were congratulated via video by First Lady Michelle Obama, and in person by Sarah Jessica Parker and surprise guest Usher. After the seniors took their bow onstage, Terrance Hayes recognized this year’s National Student Poets, and designer Zac Posen was presented with the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award.

Of course, the star-studded event was amazing, but perhaps my favorite part of the evening was feeling the energy of all those talented teens gathered in one (massive) room; their enthusiasm was practically palpable. Tucked away backstage, I listened as Dick Robinson, the Chairman, President, and CEO of Scholastic, took his place at the lectern to explain the history of the Awards. His father established the program 90 years ago “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.” Not that anyone should have to choose between the arts and sports, but as someone who grew up writing and doing theater instead of playing volleyball and soccer like my friends, a chill went up my spine as the audience of creative teenagers burst into appreciative applause. I clapped from backstage, not only for this year’s Award winners, but also for all the student artists and writers out there who could relate to that sentiment… and selfishly, maybe a little for my teenage self.

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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.

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

Show us how you’re celebrating the 2013 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!

AW Twibbon 3T-2 days until we begin the national celebration of the 90th annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and we couldn’t be more excited! As you might have read in yesterday’s OOM post, teens from across the country are heading to the Big Apple this week to celebrate their artistic and literary accomplishments. On Friday night, many of this year’s Award-winning students will take their place onstage at Carnegie Hall, sharing the spotlight with actress Sarah Jessica Parker and fashion designer Zac Posen (an Awards alumnus!). But no one says you have be in New York City to join in the celebration! As Morgan mentioned in a previous OOM post, this year’s national ceremony will be webcast live in honor of the program’s 90th anniversary, so all across the country, students, parents, and teachers can tune participate in the festivities.

Our friends at the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers have put together some great ways for teens, teachers, and parents across the nation to join in the celebration, regardless of where they’re based. We’ve adapted some of their suggestions here:

  • Change your Facebook profile picture

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.

  • Live-tweet the Awards ceremony using #AWawards

Before, during, and after the national ceremony at Carnegie Hall, we want to hear what you’re saying about the Awards! Let us know how you’re celebrating by posting to the Art & Writing Awards’ Facebook page or tweeting at @artandwriting using the hashtag #AWawards. Your tweets might even show up on their webcast page, where they’ll be broadcasting our ceremony LIVE! (Reminder: live webcast is Friday, May 31 at 6pm ET / 5pm CT / 4pm MT / 3pm PT!)

  • Share your NYC experience using #AWLandmarks

If you’re joining us in New York City this weekend, follow the Art & Writing Awards on Instagram (@artandwriting) and share pictures of yourself in spots all over the city using the hashtag #AWLandmarks. (We’d especially love to see you wearing your medals in front of the Empire State Building while it is lit in gold in honor of this year’s Award winners on May 31, in Times Square at 1515 Broadway, where 2 giant screens will feature the Scholastic Awards all day on Friday, or anywhere else you’d like!) And on June 1, keep snapping while you’re at the 2013 ART. WRITE. NOW National Exhibition and Student Showcase. Select snapshots will be featured in a future Alliance for Young Artists & Writers blog post!

  • Enter to win a 3D printer

If you’re planning to host a webcast viewing party in your hometown, be sure to post a photo of it to the Awards’ Facebook page! Your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a FREE 3D printer from 3D Systems (who partners with the Awards), valued at $1300!

We know there are hundreds of talented teens who submitted art and writing to the Awards this year, and we thank you for sharing your passion and creativity with us! Congratulations to all the winners! Can’t wait to celebrate with you on Friday!

2013 National Celebration

Sarah Jessica Parker and Zac Posen will help celebrate the 90th annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!

Students will celebrate their accomplishments at Carnegie Hall on May 31!
Students will celebrate their accomplishments at Carnegie Hall on May 31!

2013 marks the 90th anniversary of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the country’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for creative teenagers. Established in 1923 by M.R. Robinson–the founder of Scholastic Inc.–the Awards are now administered by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and continue to provide students across the country with opportunities for exhibition and publication of their work.

With more than 230,000 submissions, this year’s Scholastic Awards attracted more participants than ever before, and next week, more than 800 of the 1,600+ talented teens who received national honors will make their way to New York City to attend the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Ceremony at Carnegie Hall. There, the students will share the spotlight with actress and arts advocate Sarah Jessica Parker and fashion designer Zac Posen, who won a Scholastic Award in 1999 and will be presented with the 2013 Alumni Achievement Award. To top it all off, First Lady Michelle Obama and actress Lena Dunham of Girls (also an Awards alumna) will offer their congratulations via video. Plus–as if this news could possibly get more exciting–the Carnegie Hall ceremony will be webcast live in honor of the Awards’ 90th anniversary so that people across the nation can share in the celebration! For more information on how to register for the live webcast–or to hold an Awards viewing party in your hometown–check out this guest post from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

The national celebration kicks off on May 31 when two giant Times Square screens at 1515 Broadway will feature the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards throughout the day, and the Empire State Building will be lit in gold to honor the student winners. That evening, national medalists and their teachers will be honored at world-famous Carnegie Hall, and the following day, the Awards’ National Student Exhibition will open at Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Manhattan Gallery. Select Award-winning student art and writing will be on display through June 15, 2013, and starting in the fall, a traveling exhibit of student work 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.) You can view examples of this year’s Award-winning artwork here.

Be sure to 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!)

Congratulations to all the winners and students across the country who submitted their art and writing this year. We can’t wait to celebrate your accomplishments next week!

Celebrate your heritage: it’s Ellis Island Family History Day

Ellis IslandMore than 100 million Americans can trace their roots back to to Ellis Island, where their ancestors took the first steps toward the promised freedom and opportunity of a new world. Though more than 12 million immigrants entered the United States via Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924, a record 11,747 came through on April 17, 1907–more than on any other day in history. To mark this day and to commemorate the opening of the American Family Immigration History Center® at Ellis Island, Ellis Island Family History Day was established in 2001.

Visiting Ellis Island is an extraordinary experience, and a fantastic way to learn about our country’s rich cultural history. The interactive nature of the American Family Immigration History Center even allows you to trace your ancestors as you search the Ellis Island and Passenger Record Archives.

Unfortunately, due to extensive damage sustained during Hurricane Sandy, Ellis Island is closed indefinitely (though the Statue of Liberty is slated to re-open on July 4, 2013.) In lieu of an actual visit, Scholastic and the National Park Service invite you to join us on a virtual field trip called “Coming to America: Ellis Island”, where you can participate in an interactive tour, hear stories from real kids who have immigrated to the United States, and learn more about the history of immigration.

Did your ancestors come through Ellis Island? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!

Image via Linus Henning

5 questions with David Baldacci

We recently sat down with David Baldacci, author of The 39 Clues: Day of Doom to ask him about reading, his writing life, and his latest project, hosting Scholastic’s virtual field trip “Decoding History” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. We found out some interesting things, including what he likes to read to his kids, and that he’d have taken the bullet for Lincoln. Read more about the field trip here, and watch the replay!

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6yMYX9v3hI’%5D

Live from Edinburgh: J.K. Rowling invites classrooms into the world of Harry Potter

Watch the replay!

“Wherever I am, if I’ve got a book with me, I have a place I can go and be happy.”  That’s how J.K. Rowling  ended today’s  enchanting webcast, “Harry Potter, Beyond the Page,” which streamed live from Edinburgh to classrooms around the world and generated an unprecedented level of excitement and nostalgia among students, teachers, and Harry Potter fans everywhere. Thousands of adoring fans of all ages tuned in to today’s hour-long interview, during which time Rowling shared insights into her writing process, how the beloved Harry Potter characters came to be, a sneak peak at  the new online Harry Potter destination Pottermore, and much more. (If you missed today’s live webcast, watch the replay here!) You can also catch a round-up of all the online chatter here.

Webcast host  Billy DiMichele and students from classrooms around the world asked Rowling a range of questions about the world of Harry Potter and her own thoughts and feelings surrounding the series and its mass appeal. But the question everyone wanted answered most was why the Harry Potter series continued to have such an impact on readers.

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