Since 1992, Berkeley art students have earned numerous national awards and have consistently received multiple regional awards annually from the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards hosted annually by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. This year was no different for the talented group of fine arts students from the school’s Middle and Upper Divisions. In all, Berkeley garnered 88 awards that were recognized in 12 award categories ranging from “Honorable Mention” to “American Visions Nominee” in the visual arts competition. The competition is widely regarded as the most distinguished of its kind in identifying the country’s top artistic and literary talents.
The award total distinguishes Berkeley as the top-earning school in Hillsborough County out of 35 Tampa Bay schools that participated in the visual arts category. Students in the Middle and Upper Divisions combined for an impressive 16 Gold Keys, 40 Silver Keys, 31 Honorable Mentions, and 1 American Visions Nominee. Gold Key awards are considered the very best works submitted to local programs and are automatically considered for national-level recognition. Five works, from across all categories and grades, are selected from those earning Gold Keys as the “Best of Show” for each local program and recognized as American Visions Nominees. Further adjudication by judges in New York City will decide the top award from the five nominees.
Each year, an increasing number of students from grades 7-12 participate in the program, and become a part of an impressive community of young artists and writers, filmmakers and photographers, poets and sculptors, along with countless educators who support and encourage the creative process. In 2019, students across the country submitted 340,000 original works.
“To have 22 national winners in 27 years is quite an accomplishment for Berkeley and speaks volumes about our art program,” said Upper Division Art Instructor Terrie Forester. “Considering we are a relatively small school and not an art school, I think that our art program is a healthy and nationally competitive one. The national results for 2020 will be announced in April and we hope to add a few more winners!”
Since its founding, the Awards have established an amazing track record for identifying the early promise of our nation’s most accomplished and prolific creative leaders. The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers lists among its distinguished alumni artists Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein, Cy Twombly, Robert Indiana, Kay WalkingStick, and John Baldessari; writers Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Bernard Malamud, Maya Goldberg, and Joyce Carol Oates; photographer Richard Avedon (who won for poetry); actors Frances Farmer, Robert Redford, Alan Arkin, and John Lithgow; and filmmakers Stan Brakhage, Ken Burns, and Richard Linklater.
An awards ceremony, recognizing all Hillsborough County Regional 2020 Scholastic Award winners will be held on March 5 at the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery at the University of Tampa and a regional exhibition of the student’s work will be on display from 4:45-8:30 p.m. that evening. The exhibition will be available for public viewing through March 13.