Doing your best work and having the courage to share it with the world can be empowering and rewarding. Pride, confidence, and scholarships — this is what the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have been delivering to artists since 1923. This year, the Art Academy of Cincinnati is proud to produce the awards for our region, which will be held on our campus in historic Over-the-Rhine.

AAC Freshmen, Michael Crawford, took home two national gold medals for his work last year. The awards gave Crawford the drive and confidence to pursue his passion and hone his artistic vision at the AAC.

“The awards influenced me to work harder on my work as an artist and to research and push myself that much further to make a truly exceptional body of work,” Crawford said. “Talking with the other artists gave me a better understanding of art as a whole; how it could be used to not only better society but point out the problems in it. It’s a method of communication that can be interpreted.”

The awards pushed Crawford outside of his comfort zone and inspired him to find his voice through his art.

“I want to make people uncomfortable. To address why they are uncomfortable about a topic,” wrote Crawford in his artist’s statement. “When people stay within what is comfortable and known to them they tend to stay in ignorance. Not because of their beliefs, but the fact that they are not acknowledging others beliefs; not respecting them as they would their own.”

The experience helped focus Crawford’s work and expanded his worldview. He’s now more conscientious about what’s happening in the world today, giving him a better sense of what he needs to address as he explores how it’s pertinent to his life and how it can be universally relatable for his audience.

Crawford directly credits the awards with giving him the confidence to pursue an art education.

“I think before I received my awards, I was on the fence about pursuing art,” Crawford said. “My family was concerned about me fully pursuing art, because of the scare of me not getting a stable job. The reception at Carnegie Hall was a confidence boost; I now am pursuing art and thriving at the Art Academy. I can’t wait to see what the next four years have in store for me.”

Over the past 92 years, the awards have grown into the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition initiative and largest source of scholarships for young artists. Every year, hundreds of schools represent our region. Nearly 5,000 pieces of work are submitted and approximately 1,000 pieces of winning-art is curated and displayed. But perhaps most importantly, thousands of aspiring artists will have the opportunity to be recognized for their talent and rewarded with scholarships that will help them achieve their ultimate potential.

Submissions are being accepted for this year’s Regional Scholastic Art Awards until December 18th, 2015 and the Awards Ceremony and viewing will take place January 29, 2016. For more information visit