Van Allsburgs’ express challenge
Chris and Lisa Van Allsburg, friends and graduates of U-M’s School of Art & Design, have created the Van Allsburg Undergraduate Scholarship Challenge Match.
For every dollar given to A&D’s Undergraduate Scholarship Fund, the Allsburgs will give a dollar, up to $200,000, which, in effect, doubles the amount of a donation. The goal is to meet the Van Allsburg’s challenge by end of June 2011. In most cases, scholarships will help A&D students to enroll or continue their education.
“This Scholarship Challenge is an opportunity to support students who have a gift and help them to become part of that special group that brings beauty into the world,” said Lisa Van Allsburg.
Van Allsburg, a ’72 U-M graduate, majored in sculpture, and went on to earn his master’s degree in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1975. He is known foremost, however, as one of America’s preeminent authors and illustrators of children’s books. Two of his books — Jumanji (1982) and The Polar Express (1985) — were awarded the Caldecott Medal; each were also adapted into major-studio films.
His books have been cited as reflecting a “brutal irony” of a fantasy world where characters must deal with uncontrollable events. The themes sometimes explore the darker side of human nature, and blend an engaging fantasy landscape and poignant narrative structure with a chillingly clear moral.
Van Allsburg’s distinctive illustrations evoke a child’s perspective, sometimes drawn as if from a child’s height. Some critics have noted that the perspective helps adult readers to reimagine the world from a child’s physical viewpoint.