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November 24, 2003


SPRINGFIELD - Recognizing the pivotal role the arts play in a state's cultural landscape, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) has announced a major statewide competition for undergraduate artists at Illinois colleges and universities.

The Annual Collegiate Artists Competition, open to all undergraduates, will culminate in an awards ceremony and student art exhibition next May at the University Galleries at Illinois State University.

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has endorsed the competition as a statement of the value placed on the arts by the state.

"Art is a key to the quality of our cultural life, and I am delighted to lend my support to this project to foster the creative expression of college students throughout Illinois," Governor Blagojevich said. "This arts competition will recognize student artists and underscore the value we place on their contributions to a rich and vibrant cultural life in Illinois."

IBHE Chairman James L. Kaplan welcomed the Governor's support for the project and stated that the arts competition demonstrates that even in lean fiscal times, colleges and universities can be innovative in promoting the arts and serving the interests of students.

"The Board of Higher Education is delighted to offer this unique opportunity to display and reward the artistic talents of our undergraduate students," Kaplan said. "We anticipate this competition will become a longstanding venue for showcasing the valuable work of our fine arts faculty throughout Illinois higher education."

The Board, in partnership with the Art in Architecture program at the Capital Development Board, will issue a Call for Entries for the competition to all Illinois colleges and universities with undergraduate students. There is no limit on the number of students who may enter the competition from a single institution.

Students may enter artwork produced in the past year in any one of eight categories: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, prints, fiber, ceramics/glass, and kinetic/electronic media. Students will submit slides of their artwork for initial judging and may submit up to three entries, all in the same category.

Michael Dunbar, a noted sculptor and Coordinator of the CDB Art in Architecture program will serve as the principal juror for the competition, selecting finalists whose artwork will be exhibited at the ISU University Galleries from May 4 through July 3, 2004. Selection of finalists will be based on quality, originality, and presentation.

Finalists will be honored at a reception and awards ceremony to open the exhibit at Illinois State. Each finalist will receive a $250 award and will be eligible for additional awards recognizing outstanding achievement, including:

  • The Governor's Medallion of Excellence
  • The Illinois Board of Higher Education Prize
  • The Illinois Community College Board Award
  • The Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities Award

To ensure that students compete against counterparts at similar institutions, the competition will divide colleges and universities into four divisions-public and private institutions with enrollments above 5,000, those with enrollments below 5,000, two-year public and private colleges above or below 5,000 total enrollments.

The first year cost of the competition is estimated at $30,000. Donations from college and university foundations and from higher education organizations, as well as contributions from the corporate community and philanthropic foundations will pay for the competition and exhibition.

For more information, please visit Annual Collegiate Artists Competition page.


Don Sevener



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