The Montclair Art Museum (MAM) announced that students from across Central and Northern New Jersey have received prestigious awards for their artwork through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the 93-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 eighth 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, more than 20 jurors—artists, curators, and educators—participated in a series of panels, reviewing over 4,000 submissions from 1,248 creative teens in grades 7–12. The Gold Key Award was awarded to 219 individuals; additionally, 348 received the Silver Key Award and 444 received Honorable Mention. Five works were nominated for an American Visions & Voices Medal, which is awarded to only one notable work from each locale.

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Each MAM Gold Key Award recipient will display one work in an exhibition from February 18 to March 20, 2016. Due to the number of exceptional works, the exhibition will be split between the Montclair Art Museum and the galleries at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. A reception was held on Thursday, February 18, 6–9:30 p.m. at both locations, with remarks taking place at MAM at 7:30 p.m. All of the Gold Key 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 were 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.

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.

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 2016 national award winners will be announced in early spring. For more information about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, visit www.artandwriting.org.