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Enter The Imagination Project: Kids’ art contest aims to brighten future

With the coronavirus keeping us all inside, we’re trying to engage students from elementary through high school by inviting them to create artwork around the theme “Brighter Days.”

The theme for our Sun-Times student art contest is ‘Brighter Days.’ We hope they’ll be coming soon.
Maddie Defino

These obviously are tough times we’re experiencing, but this much we believe: Brighter days are ahead, hopefully sooner rather than later.

It’s also an especially complicated, worrisome time for children, many of whom now find themselves facing not only uncertainty because of the coronavirus, but also the inability to go to school or even leave the house.

With that in mind, we’re launching an art contest for Chicago-area children called “The Imagination Project” — with kids from elementary-school age through senior year of high school invited to submit digital images of up to five paintings, drawings or computer-aided graphic creations to our news organization.

We’ll pick five winners from each of three age groups — elementary school, middle school and high school. Each winner will receive a $20 gift card and see their art published by the Sun-Times in print and online. Each also will get a free one-year digital subscription to the Sun-Times, which includes full access to and our recently revamped e-paper. (See parents, there’s something in this for you, too.)

We plan to also pick a number of “honorable mentions” that (sorry!) won’t win a prize, but will likewise be publicized by our newspaper for all to see.

There are a few asks here:

• This has to be original artwork.

• Parents or another adult guardian must be OK with this and fill out the online form on behalf of participating students.

• And perhaps most importantly, the artwork should fall under the theme of “Brighter Days.”

What do we mean by “Brighter Days”?

We picked the concept because, to us, it’s hopeful and an indicator of better times ahead.

But it’s up to the kids to interpret the theme, create their own vision.

Submissions are electronic only, through our website. Please visit for details, including contest rules and directions on how to submit entries. The due date is April 24.

A couple of other notes: You might have noticed a subtle change on the front page of our print editions and e-paper. We’ve taken the red Chicago flag star that normally goes between “Sun” and “Times” and reconfigured it to spread word about how we need to keep being mindful about social distancing and staying safe. We’ll keep this look until the pandemic subsides.

The modified Chicago Sun-Times logo, designed to encourage social distancing.
Bryan Barker

Besides The Imagination Project, we’re taking other steps to help the community, including being a media sponsor of the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund.

From all of us at “The Bright One”— one of our newspaper’s longtime nicknames — to all of you, we wish you health, safety and “Brighter Days” during this most serious time.


Nykia Wright, Interim CEO

Chris Fusco, Editor-in-Chief