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Announcing 2019 Scholarships in Honor of Nikki Grimes and Shadra Strickland

We would like to share news of two 2019 scholarships that honor members of our faculty:

2019 Nikki Grimes Artist-in-Residency Scholarship
In honor of her great contribution to children’s literature, the Highlights Foundation is pleased to announce the 2019 Nikki Grimes Artist-in-Residency Scholarship. This application-based scholarship provides full tuition to a qualified 2019 Highlights Foundation program. The recipient is selected on two criteria: seriousness of purpose and financial need.

Applications for the 2019 Nikki Grimes Scholarship must be received by midnight on Friday, January 11, 2019. The recipient will be notified by January 27, 2019 and announced publicly on January 31, 2019. Please follow this link to apply.

2019 Shadra Strickland Visual Arts Scholarship
The Visual Arts Exhibit showcases a capsule collection from one book created for children. Artwork is on display for an entire year at the Highlights Foundation. Our inaugural show celebrated the work of Shadra Strickland from A Child’s Book of Prayers and Blessings: From Faiths and Cultures Around the World. In honor of Ms. Strickland’s exhibit, the Highlights Foundation is pleased to announce the 2019 Shadra Strickland Visual Arts Scholarship. This application-based scholarship will be awarded to one illustrator or author/illustrator, providing full tuition to a qualified 2019 Highlights Foundation program.

Applications for the 2019 Shadra Strickland Visual Arts Scholarship must be received by midnight on Friday, January 10, 2019. The winner will be notified by January 27, 2019 and announced publicly on January 31, 2019. Please follow this link to apply (including attaching up to three original pieces of artwork or link to an online portfolio). The recipient is selected on two criteria: seriousness of purpose and financial need

Nikki Grimes is a prolific writer, poet, and artist. She’s been recognized widely for her artistry, including receiving The Children’s Literature Legacy Award in 2017 for her substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children from the American Library Association; recognition from Kent State with The Virginia Hamilton Literary Award; an NCTE win for Excellence in Poetry; multi-year Coretta Scott King honors (and a win for her striking novel, Bronx Masquerade); and additional starred reviews, awards, and acknowledgments that number into the hundreds.

Nikki GrimesIn June 2018, Nikki Grimes was named a Highlights Foundation Artist-in-Residency. She worked alongside six writers for a week at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center. Ms. Grimes shared details about her work-in-progress and encouraged others as they shared in nightly critique.

At Nikki’s reception, the Foundation noted, “To see Nikki Grimes’s view of things great in the small cements her belief that all things have potential–cups, lemons, and most definitely our children. It’s impossible to pick up any one of her books, from picture book to novel, without seeing this belief. Children store endless potential, the great in the small.

From young children like Danitra Brown–the most splendiferous girl in town–to her young adult novels, Nikki speaks to the heart of her readers. She whispers, ‘Hey you, yes you, this story is for you, because you, yes you, can have hope, can have a big dream, can have a splendiferous best friend.’”


Shadra Strickland won the Ezra Jack Keats Award and the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award in 2009 for her illustrations in Bird. A year later, she won the NAACP Image Award as a contributor to Our Children Can Soar. Her illustrations for Loving vs. Virginia appeared in the 2016 Society of Illustrators juried exhibition of original artwork. Ms. Strickland’s books have received recognition from literary journals and organizations.

Shadra StricklandA Child’s Book of Prayers and Blessings: From Faiths and Cultures Around the World (Simon & Schuster, 2017) was created with linocuts. This medium enhances shapes, rich color, and texture. Within the collection, Ms. Strickland produced nine spreads and 10 single-page prints, including the cover.

At the exhibit’s opening, the Highlights Foundation noted, “Ms. Strickland’s collection speaks to readers young and old about faith and love and family and pride and more. Its beauty recalls in all of us something special, something a writer might need to see on their arrival to the Barn. ‘Here,’ her work might say, ‘have a seat. I have something to show you.’ And that new writer will open up to the feeling of family at the Foundation… Thank you, Shadra Strickland, for making the Highlights Foundation a more beautiful place to engage in the important craft of creating books for children.”

Posted on: December 20, 2018

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