Unlocking Artistry: Scholastic Art and Writing Awards


Salam Bouso and Noelle Waterman

On Sunday, January 29th, 16 Hinsdale South students took home Scholastic Art and Writing Awards across various categories. This year, the annual event was hosted by Downers Grove North, showcasing student artwork from across the Suburban Chicago region. 4 Hinsdale South students advanced to nationals by possession of the Gold Key.

This prestigious award could unlock the gateway to countless opportunities for young, aspiring artists including scholarships for up to $12,500, publication in Best Teen Writing or Best Teen Art, and exhibitions spanning from the bustling venue of New York City to the mountainous backdrop of Virginia.

The Scholastics Art and Writing Awards were established in 1923 by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers; notable alumni include pop artist Andy Warhol, horror novelist Stephen King, and activist and poet Amanda Gorman. These prominent figures were once in the same, hopeful position as many young artists like Zola Hinojosa who was awarded 3 Silver Keys spanning across various mediums.

As assistant director of Carrie, she derives musical inspiration from the grim novels of Stephen King but as an interdisciplinary artist, she scours the pages of her own Hispanic background to portray lessons revolving around cultural events like Día de Muertos in a contemporary form. 

 Scholastics awards and scholarships served as a way to help further the passions of alumni, and now — nearly a century later — their legacies serve as a stepping stone for emerging voices reinventing the world of art. Hinojosa hopes to receive similar opportunities in her pursuit of an educational art career.

Among the award-winning artists who intrigued jurors this past month with their mind-bending work was Alexandra Cima who received the American Vision Nominee Award for her piece Frog. Cima draws her inspiration from the real world and develops her ideas by distorting shape and color. She plans on studying art in college and pursuing her passion for illustration in the future. 

The American Vision award is given to those with a unique and authentic vision apparent in their work. Regional awards range from Honorable Mentions to Silver and Gold Keys. Those awarded with Gold Keys move on to the national competition, in which they can receive Silver and Gold Medals, as well as scholarships opportunities from schools all over the country. 

 In order to win an award, students’ work must not only possess originality and skill, but also the ability to showcase their personal vision. For Hinojosa, depicting the world around her in a new light and understanding that “it doesn’t have to make sense to everyone” is what brings a voice to her work. The jurors take many factors into consideration when selecting awards such as the representation of different mediums, perspectives, and backgrounds. 

On March 22nd, Cima was recognized as a National Medalist for her piece Herding Dogs

Winning Scholastic artwork in South’s gallery