Using art to link past and future
Lincoln Presidential Library joins with State Board of Education to sponsor student art contest

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[November 17, 2018]   SPRINGFIELD – Illinois children are getting a chance to use their artistic talents to explore what history can tell us about the future, thanks to a statewide art contest sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois State Board of Education.

The theme of the contest is “Art Connects History with the Future.” Students from kindergarten through high school can let their imaginations run wild to come up with posters on this topic.

Eighteen top designs will be displayed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum throughout 2019, and a single winner will be used as a poster sent to all schools during Illinois Arts Education Week, March 11-17.

Artwork may be submitted now through Dec. 14. The winners will be announced – and will go on display in the presidential museum – on Feb. 12. That is Lincoln’s birthday and a free-admission day at the museum. The winner will also be recognized at an ISBE Board meeting.

“History connects with the future every single day at this institution. Children learn Lincoln’s story and think about how they might handle difficult choices as adults or how their lives would be different if Lincoln had failed,” said Alan Lowe, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “This contest gives students a chance to explore similar questions about any part of history.”

Submissions must be 14 inches high by 11 inches wide in portrait orientation (that is, taller than it is wide). They cannot feature copyrighted characters such as Batman. More details are available at

Learning history is about more than memorizing dates and taking tests. Producing art is a great way for students to connect with historic events and consider their meaning.

“The arts are critical to students building and expressing their understanding of our past, present, and future,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Our poster contest celebrates students’ contributions to the arts and reinforces our commitment to the arts as part of a rigorous and holistic education for all students.”

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The contest, presented in cooperation with the Illinois Art Education Association, is open for students from kindergarten through high school. Entries do not have to be submitted via schools; youth groups, home-educated children or anyone else can participate. Winners and honorable mentions will be selected in three categories: Grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, at 212 N. Sixth St. in Springfield, is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology.

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as millions of other items pertaining to Illinois history. Meanwhile, the museum uses traditional exhibits, eye-catching special effects and innovative story-telling techniques to educate visitors.

For more information, visit www. 

The mission of the Illinois State Board of Education is to provide leadership and resources to achieve excellence across all Illinois districts by engaging legislators, school administrators, teachers, students, parents, families and other stakeholders in formulating and advocating for policies that enhance education, empower districts and ensure equitable outcomes for all students. Its vision of Illinois is a state of whole, healthy children nested in whole, healthy systems supporting communities wherein all people are socially and economically secure.

[Chris Wills]


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