By: Nkena Epps

The gleaming white walls of the Barton Art Galleries are waiting to be filled from corner to corner with the works from the top young artists in eastern and central North Carolina.

art3Their artistic endeavors will be on display through Feb. 20 as part of the 37th Annual Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Since 1979, Barton College has hosted the awards for the largest regional district in the state, currently with 62 counties from Winston-Salem to the Coast.

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers created the awards to encourage the artistic growth, exploration, and experimentation of the next generation of artists and writers.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards is the nation’s most prestigious recognition program for artists and writers, which identified the early promise of Richard Avedon, Joyce Maynard, Tom Otterness, Philip Pearlstein, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates, Andy Warhol, and Zac Posen.

The distinguished competition is rigorous. Upon digital submission of their artwork, student pieces are sorted into two categories, grades 7-8 and grades 9-12.

Then six jurors judge the diverse submissions which range from mediums such as architecture, comic art, ceramics and glass, photography, product design, drawing, fashion, film, video games, and art portfolio.

The jurors favor originality, good craftsmanship, successful design, and artistic voice.

Top submissions are awarded Gold Key, Silver Key, or Honorable Mention. Honorable Mention artwork is displayed online.art2

All regional Gold and Silver Key artwork is displayed on Barton’s campus.

The 300 artists who earn Gold Key medals are included in the national exhibition to be held in New York City.

In addition, Gold Key awardees are eligible for special awards which include prizes and/or scholarship money, including the American Vision Award which honors the Best of Show.

2015 Gold, Silver, and Honorable Mention awardees have been announced. Awardees, families, teachers, and principals were invited to attend an awards ceremony honoring the young artists on Feb. 1.

The general public is welcome to view the winning work Monday-Friday from 10-4.

A complete list of this year’s awardees can be found at