Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Brief Introduction

Each year, the Alliance partners with more than 100 visual arts and literary arts organizations across the country to bring the Scholastic Awards to local communities. Teens in grades 7–12 (ages 13 and up) apply in 29 categories of art and writing. In 2019, students submitted nearly 340,000 works of art and writing to the Scholastic Awards.


Submissions are juried by luminaries in the visual and literary arts, some of whom are past award recipients. Panelists look for works that best exemplify originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.



Guidelines and deadlines vary by region. To find your guidelines and deadlines, you must locate your Affiliate Partner.



    • Guidelines and deadlines vary by region. To find your guidelines and deadlines, you must locate your Affiliate Partner.
    • Writing Categories: Critical Essay, Dramatic Script, Flash Fiction, Humor, Journalism, Novel Writing, Personal Essay&Memoir, Poetry, Science Fiction&Fantasy, Short Story, Writing Portfolio (graduating seniors only)
    • Public, private, or home-school students in the U.S., Canada, or American schools in the rest of the world enrolled in grades 7–12 (ages 13 and up) are eligible to participate in the Scholastic Awards.


Judging Criterial

    • Originality: Work that breaks from convention, blurs the boundaries between genres, and challenges notions of how a particular concept or emotion can be expressed.
    • Technical Skill: Work that uses technique to advance an original perspective or a personal vision or voice, and shows skills being utilized to create something unique, powerful, and innovative.
    • Emergence of a Personal Vision or Voice: Work with an authentic and unique point of view and style.



Regional Prizes

    • Gold Key: The very best works submitted to local programs. Gold Key works are automatically considered for national-level recognition.
    • Silver Key: Stand-out works submitted to local programs that demonstrate exceptional ability.
    • Honorable Mention: Accomplished works submitted to local programs showing great skill and potential.
    • American Visions & Voices Nominees: Five works, from across all categories and grades, are selected from those earning Gold Keys as the “Best-of-Show” for each local program as nominees for the American Visions & Voices Medals.


National Prizes

    • Gold Medal: The most outstanding works in the nation.
    • Silver Medal: Works demonstrating high honors on the national level.
    • American Visions & Voices Medals: One work from each local region, from the five American Voices & Visions Nominees, will earn an American Visions & Voices Medal.