For Immediate Release                                                                                                               
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Students envision future through the Arts during 27th Annual Arts Education Week

Poster contest winners honored at ceremony in Quad Cities

ROCK ISLAND – Students from throughout Illinois are “Envisioning Our Future through the Arts,” during the 27th annual Illinois Arts Education Week. Student winners of the statewide arts education poster contest will be recognized at the Quad City Arts Center in Rock Island by the Illinois State Board of Education on Thursday, March 19. Illinois Arts Education Week runs March 16-22 and highlights the importance of the fine arts with the theme “Envisioning Our Future through the Arts.’’

“Children learn with paintbrushes and music as well as with books and calculators,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “The arts foster creativity and self-confidence. They give students a sense of ownership in their education and growth.’’

Niki Annes, an 18-year-old senior at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in Chicago, was chosen as the winner of the statewide poster contest celebrating the 2009 Illinois Arts Education Week. Niki’s entry is an abstract painting of chairs. The poster contest was sponsored by ISBE in coordination with the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education (IAAE) and the office of Governor Quinn.

“My thinking in designing this artwork was to take some mundane subject matter such as chairs, which are a common staple of life, and abstracting/flattening them through digital and color manipulations to transform them into a futuristic abstraction,’’ Niki said. “In addition to experimenting with digital color, I was also interested in the play of positive and negative space and shape to create a dynamic and mysterious image.’’

Fine Arts is one of the seven learning areas in the Illinois Learning Standards adopted in 1997 by ISBE. Fine Arts is 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 Illinois 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.

"In March, we use this opportunity to celebrate the talents and achievements of our student artists", said Becky Blaine, IAAE President and an Art Teacher at St. Charles East High School. "The message we are hearing in Illinois and across the country is that we all need to become even stronger advocates of the arts during the challenging times that we face. The Awards Ceremony provides the format to both recognize individuals and groups who have supported the arts, and to showcase our talented students."  

Niki will be recognized, along with second and third place winners at a ceremony in the Quad Cities on Thursday, March 19.  A complete list of the 2009 Illinois Arts Education Week’s poster contest winners is below:

IAAE/ISBE Poster Contest Awards
1st Place

Niki Annes, Senior
Kathleen Gordon Davis, Art Instructor Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School

2nd Place
Tom Ryan, Sophomore
Carol McCulley, Art Instructor
Warren Township High School
3rd Place

Jackie Feltz, Sixth Grade
Deb Thompson, Art Instructor
Reagan Middle School

Honorable Mention

Lauren Martinkus
Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School Chicago
André Ayala
Plainfield North High School
Adrianna Jason
Plainfield North High School

Featured School
Reagan Middle School
Debbie Thompson, Art Instructor

 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.