For Immediate Release
March 12, 2007

Illinois is ‘Shaping the Future With the Arts’

ISBE encourages communities to celebrate Illinois Arts Education Week, March 11-17

Springfield, Ill. – The Illinois State Board of Education is recognizing the importance of arts education in educating our children by proclaiming March 11-17 as Illinois Arts Education Week. This 25th annual Illinois Arts Education Week highlights the importance of the fine arts to our students and culture with the theme, ‘Shaping the Future With the Arts’.

“Incorporating the arts into the classroom helps to shape the future of our students,” said Christopher Koch, Interim State Superintendent. “Research has shown the importance of the arts to a student’s academic and social development.”

Jacob Corning, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Reagan Middle School in Dixon was chosen as the winner of a statewide poster contest celebrating the 2007 Illinois Arts Education Week. Jacob’s entry included five cats drawn in ancient Egyptian style. The poster contest was sponsored by ISBE in coordination with the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education (IAAE) and the Office of Governor Blagojevich.

“I drew a huge cat in the center and a smaller cat on top of the big cat,” said Jacob. “Mrs. Thompson tells us that composition is similar to setting the stage for a play and it helps to let the viewer know more about your artwork.”

You can view his poster online at, along with more information about Illinois Arts Education Week.

Jacob will be recognized for his work by Jesse H. Ruiz, Chairman of the State Board of Education, on Tuesday, March 13, during the IAAE’s annual Service Recognition Award ceremony in Chicago. The event is being held at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Grand Ballroom. During the ceremony, Jacob will be presented with a proclamation from Governor Blagojevich and the State Board of Education.

Fine Arts is one of the seven learning areas in the Illinois Learning Standards adopted in 1997 by ISBE. Fine Arts are a key component of a student’s education and development. It’s important that students learn the language of the arts, understand how works of art are produced, and understand the role of the arts in civilizations, past and present. The IL Learning Standards define what all students in Illinois public schools should know and be able to do as a result of their elementary and secondary schooling in the content learning areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, social science, physical development and health, fine arts and foreign languages.

The month of March is also celebrated by many national and state professional education associations as a time to focus on students’ participation in the arts. It is a time to recognize the state’s outstanding young artists and focus on careers in the arts available to Illinois students, and enhance public support for this important part of our curriculum. The Illinois Art Education Association and Illinois Music Education Association sponsor Youth Art Month and Music in Our Schools Month in March.

Additional posters can be requested by contacting ISBE’s Curriculum and Instruction Division at 217-557-7323; e-mail:; mail: 100 North First Street, Springfield, IL 62777-0001. The back of the poster contains references to the Illinois Learning Goals and Standards for the Fine Arts as well as suggested resources, activities and celebrations.

A complete list of the 2007 Illinois Arts Education Week’s poster contest winners and honorees is below: