Illinois Tollway Launches Annual Art Contest Honoring The Service of Illinois State Police


Each year the Illinois Tollway gives an opportunity for young artists to show off their creative talents by soliciting artwork for the cover the annual Illinois Tollway system map.  The map itself, which is distributed to Oases and customer service centers across the region, features a different theme selected by Tollway leadership with the goal of featuring a different aspect, achievement or aspiration of the agency.  

This year, in the wake of the tragic loss of a string of Illinois State Trooper in the line of duty, the annual art contest will honor the service and sacrifice of our Illinois State Police troopers. Young artists are invited to submit original illustrations honoring the service and sacrifice of Illinois State Police troopers for a chance to have their design chosen as the cover art of the official 2020 Illinois Tollway Map.

In 2019, three troopers have been killed in vehicle incidents on Illinois roadways this year, including two who died in crashes on the Illinois Tollway system. Trooper Gerald Ellis was killed in May when he was struck by a wrong-way driver on the Tri-State Tollway (I-94) near Green Oaks in Lake County. Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was killed just days earlier when she was struck by truck after making a traffic stop along U.S. Route 20 near Freeport in northwestern Illinois. Trooper Christopher Lambert died in January when he was struck by a vehicle while assisting with an earlier crash on the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) near Northbrook.

“These troopers demonstrated the courage and dedication that exemplifies the service provided by Illinois State Police to the drivers and members of the public they protect,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez. “We want to honor these troopers and the vital work still being done by their colleagues with the help of young artists across the state whom we invite to create images that will provide a visual memorial to the service and sacrifice of these remarkable men and women.”
High school students can participate in the Tollway Map Cover Art Contest by submitting any artwork or design that recognizes the distinguished work done by the Illinois State Police troopers who patrol the Tollways and state highways, protecting and assisting drivers despite the risks they face themselves.

Artwork created by the grand prize winner will be featured on the cover of the Tollway’s 2020 map, which is distributed at no cost to more than 75,000 customers. 

The grand prize winner and three runners-up will be featured in the Tollway’s annual report. Awards include: 

  • Grand prize winner: $400 gift certificate from Blick Art Materials and $200 in gift certificates from MBRE to use at oases retail shops and restaurants
  • Runners-up: $200 gift certificate from Blick Art Materials and $100 in gift certificates from MBRE 
  • A certificate of appreciation for all students who participate in the contest

An Illinois Tollway committee will initially judge all contest entries to determine the top 10. Those top 10 entries will be featured on the Illinois Tollway’s website and displayed in galleries at each of the five Tollway oases pavilions during the month of November. The public will be invited to view the artwork and cast their votes online to choose the top four entries. 

The 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 MBRE. 

2020 Map Cover Art Contest Important Documents

Rules and Entry Instructions
Release and Waiver of Liability
Registration Form
September 3 News Release
PSA Script