The Vera List New School Art Collection Writing Awards are given out annually to New School students who write the best critical and creative essays inspired by works in the university's art collection. The awards were established in 1996 by the late Vera List, a life trustee of The New School, and are distributed by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. The 2014-2015 Writing Award is pending the installation of a commissioned art piece in the University Center in spring 2015.

The writing awards celebrate nonfiction and fiction, prose and poetry. In 2013-2014, in addition to prose and poetic responses, the judges began considering submissions that re-visit the notion of "the essay" through non-text-based media such as film, photography, visuals, music and sound, architecture, and the Web. All students enrolled in The New School are eligible to enter. There are two first place awards of $400 and two second place awards of $200. Winners are selected by a jury of prominent faculty members and administrators including:

Carin Kuoni, director, Vera List Center for Art and Politics; Joshua Mack, member, Vera List Center Advisory Committee; Rosemary O'Neill, associate professor of art history, School of Art and Design History and Theory, Parsons The New School for Design; Luis Jaramillo, interim director and assistant professor of writing, School of Writing Program, The New School for Public Engagement; Silvia Rocciolo, curator, The New School Art Collection; and Wendy Walters, assistant professor, literary studies, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts.

The prize-winning pieces are edited by professional art critics in collaboration with their authors and are published in the annual award poster, which is designed in collaboration with illustration students at Parsons The New School for Design. In 2012-2013, 1,500 award posters were printed and distributed throughout the university campus. Posters are also available at the Vera List Center office, 66 West 12th Street, room 604.

Each year's winning entries are featured in a celebratory public reading in the spring.

Read the winning entries by all award recipients on the VLC's website.

Submission Guidelines

  • Any student currently enrolled in The New School is eligible.
  • Entries should not exceed 2,500 words.
  • Time-based or audio submissions should be approximately three to five minutes in length. For two-dimensional and three-dimensional submissions, restrictions are flexible. Please email and inquire about details.
  • All submissions must be submitted via the Vera List Center email:
  • Please note that all submissions must list your name, mailing and email addresses, phone number, university program in which you are enrolled, and New School student ID number.
  • The artwork that inspired the essay must be clearly identified by the artist's name and the work's title, date, and location on campus.
  • The 2014-2015 deadline is TBA.
  • Visit the Vera List website for details, or call the Vera List Center at 212.229.2436 with questions.

View past Art Collection Writing award recipients with downloadable PDFs of the posters.