National Organization

The National Society of Arts and Letters is a not-for-profit organization of men and women who are engaged professionally in the arts, or who actively sponsor the work of young artists.  Founded in 1944, there are 18 chapters and more than 1,450 members throughout the United States.  Membership is by invitation.

The purpose of NSAL is to encourage and financially assist talented young artists at the beginning of their careers.  In accord with these aims, annual competitions are held on the local and national levels in the categories of music, musical theater, literature, drama, dance and the visual arts, each on a rotating basis. Substantial monetary awards are offered to the primary winners.

To assist NSAL, distinguished members of a National Advisory Council give advice and support to its work.

Local competitions, professionally juried, are held at the chapter level where awards, grants, showcasing, and publicity are given to the winners.  Each chapter then sends its first-prize winner to the NSAL National Career Awards Competition, held each spring during the annual meeting. To view a video about the 2017 annual meeting and classical ballet competition, please click here. 

The National Career Awards, consisting of monetary prizes, are given to winners of the National Competition to encourage and further their professional careers. The judges are selected from professional, nationally and internationally known artists in their respective fields.

The competitions provide opportunities for young talent to be heard and seen by these acclaimed judges, by professional critics, managers, producers, and teachers, as well as patrons of the arts and members of the media. The Society continues to assist and showcase past winners as well.  The organization encourages the highest artistic integrity while aiming to promote a greater public interest in the arts.

Website for the National Organization:

National Organization information:

Copyright © 2016 by NSAL Washington Chapter.