ChiArts Guitarist Sedrick McKinney Announced as Winner of Inaugural Curtis Mayfield Scholarship

NEW YORK, NY ― April 24, 2018 ― The BMI Foundation, in partnership with the Curtis Mayfield Foundation and Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts), has announced ChiArts senior Sedrick McKinney as the winner of the inaugural Curtis Mayfield Scholarship. McKinney will be presented with the $3,000 award by Altheida Mayfield, the widow of Curtis Mayfield and Deirdre Chadwick, President of the BMI Foundation on Friday, May 18, 2018 during a scholar-artists performance at ChiArts.

Mrs. Mayfield describes her late husband as a caring man of great depth who took pride in helping young people achieve their musical dreams. Upon the announcement of the scholarship last fall, she shared her hope that this initial gesture would be a way for the Curtis Mayfield legacy to reconnect with his Chicago roots and bring awareness of his musical influence there.

“As ChiArts' first recipient of the Curtis Mayfield Scholarship, I am thrilled to be able to carry on Mr. Mayfield's legacy of musical excellence,” said McKinney. “With this support, attending a strong collegiate music program has become a reality, and I’m looking forward to becoming a professional musician and making my family and supporters proud.”

The Curtis Mayfield Scholarship will be presented annually to an exemplary graduating senior at ChiArts, a public 4-year fine and performing arts school for artistically gifted youth. The scholarship program honors the memory of the iconic Chicago-born songwriter, musician and producer whose prolific career and legacy includes such hits as “Superfly,” “People Get Ready,” “Move On Up,” “Do Do Wap is Strong in Here,” and “It’s All Right”, as well as the numerous soundtracks he created for film. Recipients are chosen based on need and musical merit, and preference is given to students going on to pursue college majors in performance, composition and songwriting.

McKinney, an 18-year-old guitarist graduating from ChiArts this May, has aspirations to become a professional performer and composer. He is currently studying under primary classical guitar teachers James Konsbruck and Thomas Clippert. McKinney has already composed two pieces for solo acoustic guitar, “Away From Home” and “Happy Acceptance,” and seeks to improve with each challenge encountered on his growing journey as a composer and musician. Heading into the future, he plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study music. McKinney hopes to continue to explore music as a means of expression about himself and the world around him.

About The Chicago High School for the Arts

The mission of The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) is to provide artistically gifted, diverse Chicago high school students intensive pre-professional training in the arts, combined with a comprehensive college preparatory curriculum. Each year, ChiArts serves 600 scholar-artists across five conservatories: Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts — with the goal of shaping them into creators, thinkers, and active citizens whose participation in the arts and culture will enrich their lives and society at large.

About the BMI Foundation

The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to encourage the creation, performance, and study of American music. The Foundation’s programs include competitive scholarships for songwriters and composers, operating grants for nonprofit arts presenters, and support for innovative music education initiatives in schools and communities across the country. For more information about the work of the Foundation, please visit our website at For exclusive news and content, follow @bmifoundation on Twitter and Instagram, and like “BMI Foundation” on Facebook at


Media Contacts

BMI Foundation: Michelle Moore / 212-220-3175 / [email protected]

The Curtis Mayfield Foundation: Jerry Digney / 323-785-2404 / [email protected]