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Sunday Spotlight: Meet the Princess Grace Award winning Writer-Animators

In celebration of our friends at the Princess Grace Foundation-USA launching their 2021 Awards program applications, we want to take a moment to honor the creative and performing arts, particularly as the performing arts industries navigate the new status quo, and to highlight the ways in which the Princess Grace Foundation-USA has supported emerging talent and creative works over the years through the Princess Grace Awards.

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA is dedicated to honoring the legacy of Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco, (neé Grace Kelly). The Foundation honors Her continued influence by educating and inspiring the world to ensure Her purpose and passions live on. Her commitment to advance the arts in the United States is sustained by the Princess Grace Awards which supports and elevates extraordinary early career artists in theater, dance and film through game-changing grants; and nurtures and supports Princess Grace Award winners throughout their careers.

While Princess Grace Award applications remain open, we will be sharing weekly “Sunday Spotlights,” each of which will focus on a specific category of previous Princess Grace Award Winners. You’re bound to recognize more than a few of these individuals, as they have all gone on to accomplish much more in their careers since the Foundation first “found” them.

This week, we shine the spotlight on three Writer-Animators, whose talents--in a field that requires such a unique combination of true creativity and attention to detail--were apparent from the beginning of their careers.

Stephen Hillenburg

Princess Grace Award 1991

Before SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen was a biologist who wanted to use animation to inspire and educate children about marine biology and ecosystems. Stephen went to CalArts to study animation and it was there as a young aspiring animator that Stephen received his Princess Grace Award.

The Princess Grace Foundation is proud to have been part of his artistic journey from the beginning of his career, to the creation of SpongeBob SquarePants, and to coming full circle to offer the Stephen Hillenburg Animation Award to support and inspire the next generation of animators.

Images: Renderings from Stephen Hillenburg's Princess Grace Award application circa 1991. © Stephen Hillenburg

Eric Darnell

Princess Grace Award 1989

Dancing penguins, neurotic “antz” and a magnificent Rainbow Crow voiced by John Legend – before bringing these characters to life, Eric Darnell was an aspiring animator who caught the attention of the Princess Grace Awards. Since receiving his Princess Grace Award in 1989, Eric has gone on to create some of the world’s favorite animated films like the Madagascar series and Antz. Now, Eric continues to advance the field of animation, creating new and exciting work in VR with the studio he founded, Baobob.

Images: Stills from Eric Darnell's "Madagascar" © 2005 and "Antz" © 1998

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Rose Bond

Princess Grace Award 1989

Rose Bond is world famous for her public site-based animation installations, set all over the world, including New York, Toronto, Zagreb Croatia and Exeter Castle in England. She is also the head of animation at Pacific Northwest College of Art where she teaches and inspires the next generations of animators. The Princess Grace Awards recognized Rose at the very beginning of her career – now, in addition to her work as an artist and educator, Rose is deepening her roots with the Princess Grace Foundation by nominating the next generation of animators.

2008, 8:50 minutes; 35mm; Color; Stereo, Dolby SR, DVD, BetaSP. Director and animator: Rose Bond

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Applications are now open for the 2021 Princess Grace Awards. Interested in applying? Learn more here.

Interested in learning more about all of our Award Winners?

Visit us at www.pgfusa.org/award-winners

Coming up next Sunday: "Meet the Princess Grace Award Winning Actors"

Credits: PCNA, Princess Grace Foundation-USA, jaredmobarak, San Francisco Public Relations Round Table,

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