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The third week of March is traditionally designated Illinois Arts Education Week by Govenor Bruce Rauner. In cooperation with the Illinois Art Education Association (IAEA) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the next Illinois Arts Education Week will be March 12-18, 2018. The poster contest reinforces the importance of the arts in the growth and development of all students. The contest winner‘s artwork will be featured on a poster that is sent to all public and private schools in Illinois. The winner will also be recognized at the Illinois State Board of Education board meeting. The poster winner plus second and third place winners will be recognized at the IAEA fall conference in 2018.

The theme for this year is ”The Arts make History Come Alive!” as 2018 is the Illinois Bicentennial. The imagery should reflect the theme plus represent all five art areas (dance, drama, media, music and visual arts). Text is not necessary as the title/theme will be professionally typeset.

Entries should be postmarked no later than December 12, 2017.

/PublishingImages/2017_IAEW_poster.pngArts Week Web pageYesDecember 12, 201712/12/2017YesYesYes

Student Honor Ensembles (Band, Chorus, and Orchestra) at the Illinois Music Education Association perform "Illinois"


To help school nutrition professionals celebrate the 200th birthday of Illinois ​with students across the state, ISBE’s Nutrition Division is excited to present the School Meals Bicentennial Menu Toolkit. It features breakfast and lunch menus, recipes, fact sheets, and more.

/PublishingImages/Nutrition-and-Wellness.pngYesSeptember - December 20189/1/2018NoYesYesCompleted

The Illinois REALTORS® Bicentennial Task Force is launching its “Home is Where the Heart Is” essay contest. Twenty-three high school students across Illinois have a chance to win a monetary scholarship and be a part of the historic 200th birthday of the State of Illinois.

Students are asked to submit a minimum of 500 words (maximum 700 words) on what this theme means to them. All essays will be judged based on adherence to this theme, originality, creativity, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The contest is open to Illinois high school students in grades 9 through 12 attending public, private, or home schools.

The contest submission deadline is Feb. 15, 2018. In addition to the monetary award, scholarship winners will also receive statewide recognition from Illinois REALTORS® and the State of Illinois Bicentennial Commission. Download the Illinois Bicentennial Essay Contest Submission form for complete requirements and eligibility. 15, 2017 through February 15, 201811/15/2017YesYesYesCompleted

​On Dec. 3, 2017, from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, admission to the Museum will be free in honor of the State’s 199th birthday and official Kickoff of the Bicentennial celebration.

​Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, 212 N. 6th St., Springfield, Illinois

/PublishingImages/Abraham-Lincoln-Presidential-Library-and-Museum.jpgView the Governor's Office Official Bicentennial Website for more informationYesDecember 3, 201712/3/2017YesYesYes

Sunday, December 3, 2017, from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm, is Illinois Bicentennial Day at Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest. This delightful family tradition features 170,000 square feet of rides, giant slides, an indoor ice skating rink, and holiday spirit. Winter WonderFest is open to the general public, and Illinois Bicentennial will host a private reception at the event to include a press conference, kicking off Illinois’ yearlong Bicentennial celebration.

Special thanks to our sponsor Navy Pier

​Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois

/PublishingImages/WinterWonderland.jpgView the Governor's Office Official Bicentennial Website for more informationYesDecember 03, 201712/3/2017YesYesYes

Statewide counties and municipalities have been asked to coordinate an Illinois Bicentennial Flag Raising Ceremony at their primary municipal building on Monday, December 4, 2017 at 12:00 Noon CST to coincide with Ceremonies throughout the state.

As we approach our 200th year of statehood, these Ceremonies will help kick off a yearlong celebration that will pay tribute to the people, places, and things that are being BORN, BUILT & GROWN here every single day. Our Bicentennial is a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to fall in love with Illinois all over again, and it will showcase Illinois’ influence on American history, achievement, culture, innovation, and more. Together, we can inspire pride in Illinois and show the world what makes this state so great.

​Statewide Counties and Municipalities, Statewide Locations, Statewide Locations, Illinois

/PublishingImages/Bicentennial-Flag-Raising-Image-for-Social-Media.pngView the Governor's Office Official Bicentennial Website for more informationYesDecember 04, 201712/4/2017YesYesYes

AURORA, IL (Feb. 23, 2018)​ — Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Deputy Governor Leslie Munger and officials from the Illinois Math and Science Academy today announced the launch of the Illinois Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign. The three-year program will be offered to students at 25 elementary and middle schools in underserved communities across Illinois.

The highly renowned IMSA Fusion program presents a unique curriculum for middle school teachers to inspire 4th through 8th graders to study math and science and pursue careers in technology, medicine, education and business.

Abbott and Wintrust are the presenting sponsors of the Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign. All Bicentennial Office programs are privately financed. Additional funding for this campaign is provided by Boeing, Ingredion and Motorola.

“The Bicentennial STEM Fusion campaign will inspire hundreds of young students across the state at an important time in their educational development,” said Lieutenant Governor Sanguinetti. “This program is another great example of the emphasis we have put on early education.”

“IMSA Fusion is a unique and proven approach to providing teachers with stimulating curriculums in math and science,” commented Illinois Math and Science President Dr. Jose Torres. “We are very excited to partner with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and the Bicentennial Office and to reach 25 additional schools in Illinois.”

IMSA Fusion is a teacher professional development and student STEM enrichment program for Illinois students who are talented, interested and motivated in mathematics and science. IMSA Fusion places a special emphasis on students who are historically underrepresented in those areas. Fusion works with teachers and students in grades 4-8.

“The Bicentennial is a commemoration of 200 years of people, places and events that have made us all Illinois Proud and it is about investing in the next 200 years,” commented Deputy Governor Leslie Munger. “The Bicentennial STEM Fusion effort is an important legacy project and we thank Abbott and our other sponsors for their commitment to students across Illinois.”

A STEM Fusion school committee will award the program to 25 schools, each receiving a three-year teacher training program. A five person school selection committee will review the applications. The committee includes: Emily Bastedo, Senior Advisor to the Governor; Dr. Kevin Pitts, Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education- University of Illinois; Ross Hemphill, Board Member- IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education; and Jenna Daugherty, Divisional Vice President of Global Social Responsibility- Abbott; and Susana Meza, Vice President, Marketing-Wintrust Financial.

The schools will be chosen based on serving predominately under-represented populations, commitment to embedding IMSA Fusion into the regular school day as an elective/encore/CTE course, requiring teachers to undertake 5 full days of professional development and a sustainability plan to continue the IMSA Fusion after the three-year award expires.



Illinois Bicentennial is a yearlong celebration that will remind us all that . . . every day in Illinois, amazing things are being BORN, BUILT & GROWN. Among the state’s many amazing traits is the commitment of Illinoisans to improving their communities through volunteerism and philanthropy.

It is our goal during this Bicentennial celebration to make 2018 a record year for volunteerism and community engagement. We encourage all Illinois organizations to make a similar commitment. Therefore, we are excited to provide you with the online tools and infrastructure to create awareness, engagement, and volunteer opportunities.

The process is simple.

  1. First, please register your Volunteerism & Philanthropy Project online​​.
  2. Then, help us track and record your organization’s progress toward our Bicentennial goal by reporting the number of volunteers and hours spent by on the project to Serve Illinois at or complete the survey.
  3. Finally, if your volunteerism events or projects can be promoted to the public and are available for others join, please submit an Application for Endorsement by Bicentennial online at

We also encourage you to share this Bicentennial volunteerism initiative, engage your employees in new volunteerism activities, and inform and request your peers to do the same at their respective organizations.

That’s it.  Illinoisans helping Illinoisans. Thank you in advance for helping us create a meaningful statewide celebration that will inspire all Illinoisans to be #IllinoisProud.​

Find/Submit a Volunteer Opportunity​​

Illinoisans can join the state’s 200​th birthday celebration by choosing the 200 greatest people, places, and things in state history in online voting coordinated by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, The State Journal-Register, and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

Every two weeks through the rest of 2018, the public will get to select the best movies, most inspiring leaders, greatest books, top businesses and much more. By the state’s 200th birthday on Dec. 3, voters will have chosen 10 favorites in 20 different categories – the Illinois Top 200.​

Visit the Top 200 of Illinois website​

Celebrating 200 Years of Illinois History: Exploring Geography Through Primary Sources in the Elementary Classroom

Tuesday, July 10, 2018, 8:30 am - 4 pm
Illinois State University
Normal, IL

The Illinois Geographic Alliance (IGA) and Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Midwest Region are pleased to offer a 1-day workshop for elementary teachers as part of the Illinois Bicentennial celebration in 2018.

​Come join us as we celebrate 200 years of Illinois history!

The goal of this free workshop is to introduce primary sources (maps, photographs, documents, etc.) related to the Illinois Bicentennial that elementary teachers can use to integrate into their existing curriculum.​​

Learn more about this workshop!

Register for this workshop​