Photo Mar 01, 3 24 26 PM

$30M in College Art Scholarships to be Awarded to Top High Schoolers at Chicago Exhibition

Exhibitions, News, Press Releases

Photo Mar 01, 3 03 37 PM

About five years ago, I was on my way out of the Zhou B Art Center when I come across four enthusiastic artists/high school teachers with an fascinating idea to start the largest high school show in the state of Illinois. We talked for a few minutes and right there on the hallway began the partnership between the Zhou B Art Center and the Illinois High School Art Exhibition. In four years, this exhibition has grown to be an incredible organization providing amazing opportunities for promising artists all across the state.  Check out all about it in this post and share it with your friends. In a time where funding for the arts its a stand still, this event provides great hope for future art makers.

The best 800 student artists from approximately 100 Illinois high schools will assemble to showcase their art and compete for more than $30 million in college scholarships at the 4th annual Illinois High School Art Exhibition (IHSAE) from Friday, Feb. 17 through Sunday, March 8 at the Zhou B Art Center and Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.

A public opening will be hosted on Friday, Feb. 17 as the Zhou B Art Center’s monthly Third Friday special event as well as at the Bridgeport Art Center.  The exhibition’s main general exhibition event on Sunday, Feb. 26 will feature the keynote address, early college scholarship announcements, awards presentations, and college recruitments at the Zhou B Art Center and senior scholarship announcements at the Bridgeport Art Center.  (See event descriptions, times, and locations further down in release)

The IHSAE is including another display venue beyond the Zhou B Art Center, the sole host partner for the previous three years, for the first time because of its burgeoning success.  Some 4,000 students, teachers, college representatives, and school district administrators are expected to attend the state’s largest high school student art exhibition that is also widely considered the gold standard amongst high school student art exhibitions nationwide.

“The scholarships will continue a robust IHSAE tradition that has facilitated $50-million-plus cumulatively for more than 750 students since our first event in 2014,” said Chris Sykora, secretary for IHSAE, which uniquely collaborates with public, private, and charter high schools and more than 35 college art schools nationwide.                                        .

The exhibition will be keynoted by progressive art educator Jorge Lucero, Chair and Professor of Art Education at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.  He will address how visual arts in education can also bolster creative practice, brain development, and personal development overall.

“Although art education has been largely eliminated from standard school curriculums due to ever-tightening budgets, a growing number of schools – including the Chicago Public Schools – are undergoing a renaissance focused on extending comprehensive art programs due to the wide-ranging developmental benefits.  The IHSAE advocates those extra efforts with exhibitions and other incentives for creative exploration and connection to innovative careers,” Sykora said.

“The Zhou B Art Center is honored to help nurture the world’s future artists by hosting this very special exhibition.  Our involvement is consistent with the center’s philosophy to provide a community and environment that supports emerging artists of all ages, walks of life, and countries – including the center’s resident artists — through collaboration, education, networking, innovative thinking, and exhibitions,” said Michael Zhou, the center’s executive director.


A Public Opening Evening Kick-Off – 7 to 10 p.m. at the Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th Street, and the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th Street.  Student art works in eight different visual categories (drawing, painting, mixed-media, photography, design, sculpture, ceramics, and time arts) will be on display. 

Sunday, Feb. 26

General Exhibition Awards Presentation – Noon to 6 p.m. at the Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. Juried awards will be presented to students and families.  Early college scholarships for non-senior students will be announced.  Keynote Jorge Lucero, director of the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, will address the crowd.

Senior Scholarship Exhibition Opening – Noon to 6 p.m. at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St.  College tuition scholarships will be announced individually.  They will be awarded by more than 35 college arts schools, including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Laguna College of Art + Design, Laguna Beach, Calif.; Syracuse University, New York; Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design; and Savannah College of Art and Design.      

College Recruitment Fair – 10 a.m. to Noon at the Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St. High school art students interested in pursuing post-secondary study in visual arts and related disciplines can converse with talent recruiters from the same 35-plus college art schools above that screened scholarship applicants prior to the exhibition.


About the IHSAE

The Illinois High School Art Exhibition is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is the advancement of visual arts education through exhibition.  Developed by teachers for students in 2014, the organization is run by full-time art educators who collaborate with corporate sponsors, art schools/colleges/universities, and participating public, private, and charter high schools to celebrate and award the artistic talents of Illinois high school art students.  The IHSAE cultivates further connections through community art programs, an   Educator Art Show, Blick in-store events, presentations for art teachers at venues such as School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Art Education Association Conference, school programming support, collaborative connections with Illinois School Boards, and more.   For more information, go to

About the Zhou B Art Center

The Zhou B Art Center was founded in 2004 by the internationally acclaimed Zhou Brothers ( Located in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, the center is a platform for contemporary art in Chicago and the international art community.  It also promotes artistic exchange and conversation at its thought-provoking exhibitions.  Founded by artists for artists, the center cultivates a collaborative creative environment to a thriving community of talented artists, in particular its nearly 50 resident artists.  Events on the Third Friday of each month invite special exploration for large crowds from throughout Chicago and the world of the Zhou Brothers museum, exhibitions, galleries, and open artist studios.  For more information, go to

Sergio Gomez is a Chicago-based visual artist and creative entrepreneur. He is owner and Director of 33 Contemporary Gallery, Director of Exhibitions at the Zhou B. Art Center, founder of and Amplified Art Network, Creative Consultant for Idea Seat Marketing & Advertising, Contributor for Italia Arte Magazine, and curator and producer of the National Wet Paint MFA Biennial. In 2014, Sergio co-founded the program Art NXT Level to help artists manage thier careers.

Leave a Reply