Scholastic Art & Writing Awards at Cornish

Since 2015, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers has partnered with Cornish College of the Arts to bring the Scholastic Awards to Washington State. Teens in grades 7 – 12 apply in 29 categories of art and writing.

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

Students receiving Gold Keys, Silver Keys, Honorable Mentions, or American Visions & Voices Nominations are celebrated with an exhibition and ceremony hosted in Seattle. Gold Key works are then judged nationally by a panel of creative-industry experts to be considered for National Medals and are recognized at the National Ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Timeline and Directions:

Applications for 2019 open September 12, 2018.

  1. Build an account here
  2. Create and upload your work at that account. After uploading your work, print the submission form(s), have parent/guardian and teacher sign, then scan and submit with payment to Cornish College of the Arts.
  3. Submit signed forms and application fee here
    DO NOT MAIL FORMS or CHECKS. Your application will be disqualified.
    • Each submission has a $5 application fee.
    • Each Portfolio has a $20 application fee.
    • Fee Waiver Forms are available here.

Deadline for all parts is 11:59 pm December 14, 2018


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Image Requirements for Art Submissions

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  • Artwork must be submitted as a digital file in JPG, GIF, or PNG format (PSD, BMP, PDF, RAW, or TIF files are not accepted).
  • Print dimensions must be at least 5” x 7” or approximately 13 x 18 centimeters, and image resolution must be 300 dpi.
  • 3-D submissions may include up to 4 images. Please include a ruler or object for reference to indicate scale in at least one of the images.
  • Submissions allowing for video uploads must be .mp4, .mov, .wmv, .avi, .mpg, or .mpeg files.
  • Video Game submissions must be .exe, .zip, .rar, or .swf files, must also include a 250-500 word gameplay summary in the provided text editor, and a gameplay video.

Categories for Writing Submissions

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Who is eligible to participate?

Public, private, and homeschooled students enrolled in grades 7-12 who currently live within the state of Washington (excluding Snohomish County) are eligible to participate in the WA State Regional Scholastic Awards.

What kinds of work can students submit?

Students can submit a wide variety of artwork and writing. View a complete list of the competition categories and their descriptions here.

What size should my image be?

Uploaded image should have a print resolution of 300dpi, with the largest side being printed at 7 inches. This means that your digital image should contain 2100 pixels on its longest side. The actual file size will vary depending on your image but should be around 3MB – 5MB. Note that you do not need higher resolution than 300dpi. If you are unable to provide your file at “Excellent” print quality then just upload the best quality you have.

How do judges decide what work is awarded?

The Scholastic judge panel uses the following criteria:

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 show skills being utilized to create something unique, powerful, and innovative.

Emergence of Personal Voice or Vision - Work with an authentic and unique point of view and style.

Additionally, judges are not privy to any personal information about students during the adjudication process, and choose winners blindly.

Are there any prompts or specific subjects the work must adhere to?

Young artists and writers are free to explore any and all topics. There are no pre-defined prompts and no work is ever disqualified from the Scholastic Awards because of the nature of its content.

Can work be submitted as group collaboration?

Collaborative submissions are allowed for the following categories: Film & Animation and Video Games.

All collaborators must meet all eligibility criteria (grades 7–12 and enrolled in public, private, parochial, home school, or out of school program in the United States, U.S. territories, Canada, and American Schools abroad).

One team member completes registration for the entire group (up to 5 collaborators total). If the artwork receives recognition in the Awards, each collaborator receives an individual Scholastic Award.

If a collaborator is not included in the registration, they will not be recognized.

Can I enter in more than one category?

Yes, you may submit works in as many different categories as you want. However, do not submit the same work in multiple categories. Read the category descriptions and determine in which single category a particular piece belongs.

Seniors can include works in both the portfolio categories and individual categories. Students must register the work as part of their portfolio AND in an individual category if they would like it to be considered in both places.

Can I submit to both art and writing?

Yes, you can submit to both art and writing.

Do I have to obtain an educator’s signature in order to participate?

Yes, one educator must sign your submission forms.

You must obtain an educator’s signature for each work you submit to The Awards. You may get the signature of an adult familiar with you and your work, including a teacher, tutor, out of school instructor, program director, guidance counselor, department head, administrator, or principal.

Can international students apply?

Students in Canada, a U.S. territory or a U.S. school abroad, regardless of national citizenship, may submit work to The Awards. Foreign exchange students who are temporarily residing in the U.S. may also participate.

I’m currently enrolled in a non-traditional high school (i.e an alternative school or GED program). Am I still eligible to participate in the Awards?

Yes, as long as you are 21 or under and there is an instructor of record who can sign your submission form.

What can lead to a submission being disqualified?

Submissions will never be disqualified based on their content, but several situations can lead to a submission being rejected before being forwarded to adjudication.

  • Incomplete or misspelled information: Before completing your forms, be sure all fields have been filled completely and spelled correctly.
  • Visible signatures or identifying information: Students must either obscure or remove any identifying information, including signatures from their artwork or writings or risk having their submission disqualified.
  • Evidence of plagiarism or copyright infringement: If a submission appears to have violated the Scholastic Award guidelines, it will either be disqualified prior to adjudication, or have its award held until an investigation can be conducted. Read more about complying with SAWA’s Copyright and Plagiarism guidelines here.
  • Insufficient payment: All submissions must be paid for prior to the deadline, or they will be considered incomplete and disqualified. Fee waivers are available for students who qualify, and must be attached to their submission to be considered for adjudication.

Can I go back into the Online Registration System after the deadline has passed to make changes to my registration or the work submitted?

No. After the deadline, students and educators can no longer access submissions on the Online Registration System.

When will I know if I’ve been awarded? How will I be notified?

All participants who complete the full application process will be notified of status by email in early January.