Showing that 'leadership is an art'


SPRINGFIELD – A bald eagle with a claw full of paint brushes. Silhouettes of artists at work. Abraham Lincoln dreaming of the arts in Illinois. Students created these images and many more in a contest organized by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois State Board of Education.

Three artists showed the skill and creativity needed to win their age groups:

  • Kindergarten through 5th grade: Michael Golminas of Downers Grove
  • 6th through 8th grade: Alexandra Bravo of Westchester
  • 9th through 12th grade: Matthew “Seiya” Abe-Bell of Springfield

Abe-Bell was named the overall winner. His submission is being turned into a poster that will be available to schools during Illinois Arts Education Week, March 16-22.

The three winning entries, along with 12 runners-up, will also be displayed in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for a year.

The theme of the contest, which was presented in cooperation with the Illinois Art Education Association, was “Leadership is an Art!” Students were encouraged to let their creativity flow as they visualized what leadership meant to them.

“Congratulations to the winners and to every student who participated in the contest,” said Heather Nice, education director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “Art often asks us to consider the world in new ways, and we were thrilled to see such dynamic and creative representations of the intersections between art and leadership.”

The arts are critical to the youth as they learn and discover the world around them, including its history. The poster contest reinforces the state’s commitment to the arts as part of a rigorous and holistic education for all students.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, at 212 N. Sixth St. in Springfield, is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology. It also serves as the state historical library. 

The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln material, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to other aspects of Illinois history. The museum uses exhibits, eye-catching special effects and innovative story-telling to educate and inspire visitors from around the world.

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The mission of the Illinois State Board of Education is to provide each and every child with safe and healthy learning conditions, great educators, and equitable opportunities by practicing data-informed stewardship of resources and policy development, all done in partnership with educators, families, and stakeholders.

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