SPRINGFIELD – Illinois children are getting a chance to use their artistic talents to explore the meaning of leadership 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 “Leadership is an Art.” Students from kindergarten through high school can let their imaginations run wild to come up with posters portraying famous leaders as artists, for instance.

Eighteen top designs will be displayed at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum throughout 2020, and a single winner will be used as a poster sent to all schools during Illinois Arts Education Week, March 16-22.

Artwork may be submitted now through Dec. 2. 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, a framed copy will hang in the Board office, and the winner will be recognized at the fall 2020 conference of the Illinois Art Education Association.

“Art and leadership go hand in hand,” said Melissa Coultas, acting executive director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “Art teaches creative ways of looking at the world and of solving problems that leaders face, while great works of art can inspire people to appreciate moments of true leadership.”

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 bit.ly/ALPLMart2020.

“Art supports students in thinking outside of the box, learning about history and the world around them, and expressing themselves,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “These skills are necessary for effective leadership, which is this year’s contest theme. I am honored to have this opportunity to celebrate Illinois’ young artists and leaders.”

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.

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