Category Archives: Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Submissions Opening Soon!

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program is the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program of its kind. It celebrates creative teens locally and nationally with awards, exhibitions, publications, and scholarships. 

The Belin-Blank Center is proud to serve as the Iowa and Midwest Region-at-Large Affiliate for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program. We accept and judge art and writing submissions for those regions, hold an awards ceremony recognizing regional winners, and provide summer programming for talented young artists and writers.

Participating in the Awards enters your work into consideration for Gold Key, Silver Key, Honorable Mention, American Visions Nominee, and American Voices Nominee Awards. We present these awards to Iowa and Midwest students in a celebration ceremony and exhibition in the spring. 

Submissions will open on September 1st. Receive scholarships, cash awards, or tuition assistance by participating in the Awards!

A New Summer Opportunity for High School Artists and Writers

We are excited to announce our new Summer Art Residency and Summer Writing Residency!  Spend 3 weeks this summer in an immersive art or writing residency on one of the premier arts campuses in the US.   Participate in classes, workshops, evening tours, lectures, and events that will stretch you as an artist or writer. The residency concludes with an art and reading show and a portfolio review. Priority will be given to students who have participated in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.  Applications are currently being accepted.

Summer Art Residency

Summer Writing Residency

Costumes, Poetry, and Dancing at the Scholastic Celebration

Students who received a Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention for their submission to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (Iowa or Midwest Regions) were invited to our Scholastic Celebration!

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Expanding Opportunities for Young Artists and Writers

We are very pleased to announce that the Belin-Blank Center and Assistant Director for Student Services Jan Warren received the 2016 Gold Key for Excellence in the Field award from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.  This award is given annually to an Affiliate Partner organization that demonstrates extraordinary dedication to creative young people, perseveres through challenges over time, and expands the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program to reach more participants.

Jan Gold Key Scholastic-1

Virginia McEnerney, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, presented the award to Ms. Warren during the annual celebration of national award winners in New York City.  “The Alliance selected you and the Belin-Blank Center to receive this Award because the organization has gone above and beyond basic program requirements to provide additional opportunities for creative teenagers in the state of Iowa, as well as the thousands of students in the greater Midwest who do not have the same local opportunities for recognition.”

Jan Warren accepting Scholastic award

This past year, the Belin-Blank Center processed and adjudicated almost 10,000 pieces of art and writing from nearly 7,000 students.  In addition to the awards process, the Center has engaged community partners to provide additional scholarship opportunities and developed a blog (Freehand) for young artists and writers.  Students may begin submitting works for the coming year in September.

Get the Latest News from the Belin-Blank Center

Our December newsletter is out, featuring everything from bunny slippers to webinars!

December newsletter

Have You Seen Our August Newsletter?

It’s hot off the (virtual) presses and full of updates from the Belin-Blank Center:


Have You Seen Our February Newsletter?


We’ve got news, details about our summer programs, an exciting new blog, and more!  Visit to get the latest news from the Center.

Want to be the first to hear news from us?  Subscribe to our newsletter!

Calling All Artists and Writers!

Freehand screenshot

We are excited to announce a new blog by and for the students in the Iowa and Midwest Regions of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards program.  Freehand: Midwest Scholastic at the Belin-Blank Center will explore the creative process, spotlight our artists and writers, and introduce you to the people and programs at the Belin-Blank Center.  Go to to read and see more.  Be sure to visit the blog’s menu and sign up to receive an email notification every time there’s a new Freehand post!

Message from the Director: Optimism

The 11th Wallace Research and Policy Symposium on Talent Development opened on March 23, 2014, to the theme of Optimism.  The meaning of the Latin root of the word “optimus” is “best” and that is exactly what the Wallace Symposium did!  It brought out the best in the Belin-Blank Center staff, attendees, and presenters.

Since the 1991 inaugural Wallace Symposium, a primary goal has been to build a community of researchers; a secondary goal has been to build a community that brings out the best in the members.  Building community means bringing together individuals from related fields who will share ideas and, through openness and dialogue, create the best community of professionals dedicated to research and policy for talent development.  An attitude of optimism means that there is trust among community members that promotes creation of the best situation possible given the available resources.  With more than 60 featured keynote, invited, and concurrent presentations or posters, and attendees from 10 countries and more than 30 states, all of whom were dedicated to the mission of the Wallace Symposium, how could we miss?

The Wallace Research and Policy Symposium also brought out the best in the entire Belin-Blank Center staff and faculty.  The phenomenal teamwork resulted in a hugely successful event, including the accomplishment of three firsts: the symposium’s first time in DC; first-time emphasis on the integration of two critical components of best practices, research and policy; and the first time that the Belin-Blank Center worked with the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) to co-host the symposium during their annual state affiliate advocacy summit.  NAGC president Tracy Cross succinctly framed the benefit of the collaboration in his message to the NAGC membership: “Attendees of the [Wallace] Symposium learned about both the latest research in several areas of talent development, and also how research can inform practices – all with the goal of ensuring members of our community are well-informed about connections between GT programs, services, and pedagogy and developing the high levels of talent we need in the global economy in every student group.”

On a personal note, I was pleased to deliver the concluding keynote, “Ten Years Later: From A Nation Deceived to A Nation Empowered.”  This keynote featured a sneak preview of the forthcoming publication that is an update and revision of the watershed publication, A Nation Deceived.

You, too, can see what we have in mind for A Nation Empowered.

After completion of such a large program, you may be wondering what’s next at the Belin-Blank Center?  We will wrap up Wallace 2014 in the next few weeks and will take a little time to consider our options for Wallace 2016 (including returning to DC).  Meanwhile, we continue to provide the excellent services and programs for students and their educators.  You can learn about the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium, which took place on February 27 and 28; the March 29th Weekend Institute for Gifted Students; our Arts Scholastic Award Ceremony, scheduled for April 5; and Invent Iowa, scheduled for April 19.

I’ve always found that the season of spring is the epitome of optimism.  For 25 years, spring has been the time that the Belin-Blank Center puts the finishing touches on preparations for summer and this year is no different.  Summer student program classes, both residential and commuter, are filling up.  The professional development opportunities promise to challenge and encourage educators.  Stay tuned!

Join Us In Honoring Student Artists and Writers

Join us tomorrow, April 5th, at the Iowa Art & Writing Region Recognition Ceremony!  This event, which honors winners of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, is open to the public, and writer (and Scholastic judge) Sarah Prineas will be there to sign books in the foyer of the Blank Honors Center (

  • Check-in: 9:15 AM-10:30 AM
  • Art & Writing Activities: 9:30 AM -10:30 AM
  • Ceremony: 10:45 AM – 12:00 PM




Wrap Up Your Day With Some Award-Winning Art

Congratulations to all the 2014 Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners!  You can see the winners in art in the video below:

The Iowa Region Has Some Amazing Young Artists!

Click on a thumbnail below to see all Visual Arts Gold Key, Silver Key, and Honorable Mention winners for the 2013 Iowa Region Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Results Are In

In partnership with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to recognizing the nation’s most talented teen artists and writers, The Belin-Blank center announces the regional awards for the Midwest Region At-Large Large and the Iowa Region competitions in the 2012 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The Awards competition, entering its 89th year, is the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious scholarship and recognition program for student achievement in the visual and literary arts.

Over 3700 art and 1600 writing entries were submitted to the 2012 Scholastic Midwest Region At-Large competition, and over 600 art and 200 writing entries were submitted to the Iowa Region competitionCheck out the results!

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Congratulations to Our Scholastic Visual Arts Winners!

The Belin-Blank Center proudly serves as the Iowa Multi-State Affiliate of the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.  This slideshow includes our region’s National Visual Arts Award winners, as well as all of our regional Gold and Silver Key Awards for Visual Arts for 2011:

Congratulations to all of the talented students who participated this year!