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SIU Carbondale’s art and design scholarship competition open to Illinois high school students

Melted iron being poured into a mold by an artist.
Yenitza Melgoza
SIU News-Provided

Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s School of Art and Design is presenting a statewide online art competition to celebrate the immense talent and creativity of Illinois high school juniors and seniors.

The inaugural Creative Futures art competition carries up to $6,000 in SIU scholarships to students in three art media categories — 2D, 3D, and digital art and design. Illinois high school art and design teachers are invited to submit works by no more than five current juniors or seniors from their schools.

The submission deadline is Feb. 2, 2024. Award winners will be announced Feb. 23. The online exhibit will start Feb. 16, 2024, and close on Feb. 14, 2025. There is no entry fee.

A showcase for young talent

The program is designed to inspire high school students “who are passionate about art,” said Xuhong Shang, professor and director of the School of Art and Design. “We believe that this competition offers a unique opportunity for students to express their creativity, gain recognition and potentially set the stage for future opportunities in the arts.”

Travis Janssen, associate professor and assistant director in the program, credits Shang for the competition to showcase talent and serve as a recruiting mechanism. Janssen, Antonio Martinez, associate professor and head of undergraduate studies, along with Corey Tester, visual resource specialist and associate instructor, and Jody Paulson, a lecturer in art education, are also involved in coordinating the competition.

“The competition also celebrates and fosters an appreciation of the arts,” Martinez said.

“The only way for the arts to be fully understood and appreciated is if there are public forums, such as exhibitions. These opportunities elevate and celebrate one’s creativity and viewpoint of the world. High school students may not see or be exposed to the copious amounts of opportunities within the creative industry, especially if there are not low-cost art competitions readily available to have their artwork reviewed by professional artists.”

Three distinct media categories

This year’s competition is being funded through an SIU Foundation account intended to assist students with scholarships, but Janssen said a goal is to establish an endowed competition.

The categories are 2D art (painting, drawing, printmaking and photography), 3D art (ceramics, glass, metals and sculpture), and design and digital art (web/graphic design, industrial design, animation and video).

SIU faculty from each of those three areas will decide the entries to be accepted for exhibition. Many of the faculty have juried shows on a national and international level.

“Even being juried into an exhibition by a professional working artist or designer is an honor in itself,” Janssen said. “There is a certain cachet for a high school student to be accepted into the exhibition and even greater to be an award winner.”

Because judging can be challenging, how the awards will be divided will the jury team’s decision, Janssen said. There is the potential for a single entry to win a $2,000 scholarship in one category or for the award to be split.

More information on the competition is available at the Creative Futures website, calling the School of Art and Design at 618-453-4315, or by email at creativefutures@siu.edu.


Pete Rosenbery — arts and design, architecture, automotive and aviation, humanities, journalism and mass communications, law, public policy, social sciences.

SIU News is produced by University Communications and Marketing - 618-453-2589. Twitter: @SIUCNews
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