Content | Navigation |



Teen submissions sought for Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Photo of Kelly Sassi


The Red River Valley Writing Project at NDSU and Plains Art Museum invite students in grades 7–12 to submit original artwork and writing for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious scholarship and recognition initiative for creative teens.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 14.

The competition is accepting submissions from students across the country. The awards have fostered creativity and talent since 1923 for millions of students, and feature a notable list of alumni including: Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Richard Avedon, Sylvia Plath, Kay WalkingStick, Ken Burns, John Baldessari, Mozelle Thompson, Joyce Carol Oates, Laura Youngbird, Robert Redford and Zac Posen.

“We’ve learned over the years that for many teenagers having their creative work recognized while still in school is the impetus they need to be lifelong creators, makers and leaders,” said Virginia McEnerney, executive director of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. “Encouraging teens to utilize art and writing to express their hopes, dreams and questions about the world has multiple and meaningful benefits. The collective output of these young innovators creates a portrait in time of our American identity and, for the teens, it reinforces the positive habits that come from creative self-expression.”

In North Dakota, the number of submissions has doubled each year since 2014, when the Red River Valley Writing Project at NDSU and Plains Art Museum partnered to serve as the state affiliate. “My vision is to provide access to these awards for every creative North Dakota teen, no matter where they come from. It is inspiring to see their art and hear their stories. Our young people have much to contribute, not just to our state, but to our country and the world,” said Kelly Sassi, director of the Red River Valley Writing Project.

Scholarships and special awards:

• Gold Medal Portfolio is the program’s highest national honor and awards 16 high school seniors a $10,000 scholarship for their writing or artwork portfolio.

• New York Life Award sponsored by the New York Life Foundation recognizes teens exploring issues of grief and bereavement in their creative work and providing six young artists and writers with $1,000 scholarships.

• Herblock Award for Editorial Cartoon sponsored by The Herb Block Foundation provides three young artists with $1,000 scholarships for their outstanding editorial cartoons.

• Civic Expression Award in partnership with the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and sponsored by the Maurice R. Robinson Fund provides $1,000 scholarships to six students whose art or writing promotes responsible civic life.

Criteria and guidelines:

Students are invited to submit creative and original work in any of 29 art and writing categories, including architecture, painting, flash fiction, poetry, printmaking and video game design.

• All works are evaluated through blind adjudication first in North Dakota by a diverse panel of regional judges. Gold Key works are forwarded on for consideration at the national level.

• At each level of judging, all works are reviewed based on the same criteria that have represented the program since its founding in 1923: originality, technical skill and emergence of personal vision or voice.

• More information is available at

From Jan. 30-March 10, 2018, an exhibit of award-winning works is set to be featured at Plains Art Museum’s Starion Gallery. The North Dakota state ceremony is scheduled for March 10 at Plains Art Museum, where Gold Key, Silver Key and Honorable Mention recipients will be announced. All Gold Key recipients are forwarded for the next round of national awards and honors.

For more information, contact for writing or for art.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

Follow NDSU
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Google Maps

Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
Campus address: Old Main 204
Mailing address: Dept 6000 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: NDSU University Relations