Our Story

The IHSAE is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is the advancement of visual arts education through exhibition. The organization maintains its guiding principle of a show developed by teachers, for students. The entire organization is run by full-time art educators who collaborate with corporate sponsors, art schools/colleges/universities, and participating high schools to celebrate the artistic talents of Illinois high school art students on a grand scale.

Since 2014, the IHSAE has been responsible for awarding high school art students more than $30,000 in cash and prizes, facilitating 150 early college program scholarships, and connecting over 600 high school seniors to tuition scholarship offers totalling more than $50 million. Each year the IHSAE continues to improve its ability to connect our participating high school students to future post-secondary opportunities in the arts.

Our Mission Statement:

The Illinois High School Art Exhibition believes the visual arts are a powerful force in culture and education, enriching the lives and endeavors of humankind. In education, exhibitions of the visual arts provide a valuable means by which aesthetic and creative qualities are demonstrated to the public, enhancing the experience and critical understanding of the works exhibited. It is our stated purpose to advance art education for young people by providing art exhibition and education opportunities for the learning community that celebrate students' artistic achievement, promote mastery in learning and ingenuity, and facilitate post-secondary opportunities with art organizations.

IHSAE Expansion:

What began as a monumental exhibition created to support and expose student achievements in the arts has grown to encompass programming that impacts all aspects of art education across Illinois and beyond. Embracing the concept of "Advocacy through Exhibitions," and awareness that the arts are rooted in communities, the IHSAE has expanded its activities to include: The Educator Show, presentations for art teachers at venues such as School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Art Education Association Conference, artist-student workshops, Blick in-store gallery shows and events, school programming support, collaborative connections with Illinois School Boards, and consultations with other arts programs and organizations.