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Statewide student art contest encourages students to express themselves without boundaries


Illinois students will have a chance to show who they are in an annual statewide art contest.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois State Board of Education are coming together once again for the competition.

Abigail Cline is the education coordinator at the library and museum. She said the theme “Survival Through Self-Expression” was driven by some of the art that was submitted for last year’s contest.

“And so, we kind of came up with the idea of what if we kind of pushed that a little bit further,” she explained, “and encourage the students to really use the contest as an avenue for them to continue through that process and processing through what's happened over the last two years.”

She said the last couple of years have been a sense of survival for everyone.

"The passion that was being poured into the pieces, the pain, the struggles," she said, "the anger through all of it, the sorrows through all of it."

Katrina Cunningham is the principal consultant in the student care department at the Illinois Board of Education. She said the students can come up with their own interpretation.

“They're able to look around the world,” she said, “around themselves, and just be able to express that through color -- through all different types of art, abstract art, and two-dimensional art.”

The 2022 contest is open to all students in kindergarten through high school. Applicants can attend public, private, alternative, or home school. Students will be judged based on their age group.

Two-dimensional art must be submitted by Dec. 17.
Winners will be announced Feb 12. Entry information is listed on the presidential library’s website.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.