The Montclair Art Museum (MAM) announced that students from across New Jersey have received prestigious awards for their artwork through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the 91-year-old national program that recognizes outstanding creative teenagers and offers scholarship opportunities for graduating high school seniors. The program is administered by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, for which the Montclair Art Museum is the sole affiliate sponsor in New Jersey, the sixth year MAM has served in this capacity. The competition at MAM focuses on visual art. Its area of service includes the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren.
The Montclair Art Museum is one of 115 affiliate organizations nationwide that, in partnership with the Alliance, conduct the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. At MAM, jurors—artists, curators, and educators—participated in a series of panels, reviewing 4,500 submissions.
A total of 1,132 creative teens in grades 7–12 submitted art works. The Gold Key Award was awarded to 254 individuals; additionally, 207 received the Silver Award and 398 received Honorable Mention.
Each MAM Gold Key Award recipient will display one work in an exhibition from February 13 to March 9, 2014. Due to the number of exceptional works, the exhibition will be split between the Montclair Art Museum and the Visceglia Gallery at Caldwell College. A reception will be held on Thursday, February 13 at both locations, with remarks taking place at MAM at 7:30 p.m. All of the Gold Key awarded works, alongside thousands of entries from other regional affiliate programs across the country, will also be presented to national panels of creative leaders in New York City to determine which receive the highest honors. Jurors will be curators from major museums, leading journalists, gallerists, artists, and established alumni of the program. Past jurors have included Tony Hawk, Lesley Stahl, Wangechi Mutu, Bill Murray, Judy Blume, and Nikki Giovanni.
In connection with the Scholastics Art Award exhibition, the Montclair Art Museum will host its inaugural Portfolio Review Day on Saturday, February 15, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Admissions representatives from 25 leading art and design schools from around the country will be on hand at the Museum to review the art portfolios of high school students interested in pursuing careers in the arts. The event is free and open to the public. MAM’s drop-in portfolio review allows high school students to receive feedback on their visual art portfolios from college art admission officers. Students are invited to bring up to but no more than 20 pieces of original work in any medium, including clothing, jewelry, sculpture, and sketchpads—or to bring digital images on their own laptop.
At the national level, sixteen graduating high school seniors will be awarded with Portfolio Gold Medals, which include a $10,000 scholarship for each winner. Additional scholarships are made available to Portfolio Silver Medalists and through sponsored awards and stipends to summer arts programs. The Alliance will offer more than $270,000 in direct scholarships and awards this year. Teachers of award winners also receive recognition, and hundreds of high school senior award winners are eligible for nearly $4 million in scholarships through a network of more than 60 colleges and universities that recognize the significance of the Awards.
For the past three years, a MAM regional Gold Medalist went on to receive the national Portfolio Gold Award, the highest level of achievement: in 2011, Leonardo Laurenceau; in 2012, Batrek Yassa; and in 2013 Christian Caraballo, all of whom attended Jersey City Arts High School.
Since 1923, nine million students have been recognized through exhibitions and publications and have shared in more than $25 million in awards and scholarships. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards has a long list of distinguished alumni who rose to the top of their creative fields since they won their awards in high school, including Andy Warhol, Robert Redford, Sue Miller, Richard Avedon, Zac Posen, Tom Otterness, Philip Pearlstein, and John Baldessari.
The 2014 national award winners will be announced in early spring. For more information about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, visit www.artandwriting.org.