Online voting starts for 2012 Illinois Tollway map cover art contest

Thirty high school students from across Northern Illinois have been selected as semi-finalists in a student art contest sponsored by the Illinois Tollway, Blick Art Materials and U.S. Equities to select the cover artwork for the 2012 Illinois Tollway map. The Tollway is inviting the public to go online now through Nov. 1 to select the finalists in the Illinois Tollway’s 2012 Map Cover Art Contest.

High school students in the 12 counties served by the Illinois Tollway were invited to participate in the contest by submitting entries from one of three transportation-related themes, including Distracted Driving, “Green” Transportation and Tollway of the Future.  The Tollway received 76 entries from schools throughout the region, from Chicago to Rockford.

“We appreciate the efforts of all of the students who took the time to create artwork for our contest,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “We have been impressed by the students’ talents and grasp of important issues like distracted driving and how to make our roads safer and greener.”

Members of the general public are invited to go online to the Illinois Tollway’s Web site at to view the semi-finalists’ artwork and vote for an entry in each of the three categories. Artwork can also be viewed at the seven Illinois Tollway Oases, with a display gallery featuring the artwork and a QC code that can be scanned with a smart phone to go directly to the voting page.

The top three entries in each category will move on to the next level of judging. A grand prize winner and three runners-up will be selected by a panel of judges including members of the Tollway Board of Directors and representatives from U.S. Equities.

“Blick Art Materials is happy to have the opportunity to partner with the Illinois Tollway for this student art contest,” said Chief Executive Bob Buchsbaum. “We are excited to see the innovative art designs from these aspiring young artists.”

Artwork created by the grand prize winner will be featured on the cover of the Tollway’s 2012 map which is distributed at no cost to more than 125,000 customers. Winners from each of the three categories will be featured in the Tollway’s annual report. Awards include the following:

  • Grand prize winner: A $400 gift certificate from Blick Art Materials and $200 in gift certificates from U.S. Equities to use at Oases retail shops and restaurants.
  • Runners-up: A $200 gift certificate from Blick Art Materials and $100 in gift certificates from U.S. Equities.
  • All students who participate in the contest will receive a certificate of appreciation from the Tollway.
  • Winners will be acknowledged at an Illinois Tollway Board meeting in November.
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“We are pleased to host the student artwork galleries at the Tollway Oases,” said Katherine Scott, executive vice president/managing director of U.S. Equities Realty.  “We look forward to seeing the talents of our aspiring artists on display and on the winning map cover.”