Organizers of Democratic National Convention in Chicago launch student art competition

A bird's eye view of a high school teen with curly, dark hair in a bun sits at a round white table painting.
A high school teen works on an art piece at home. (Pollyana Ventura / Getty Images)

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Keiana Barrett still has the button she wore at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

The event, held in Denver, ended with former President Barack Obama, then a U.S. Senator from Chicago, becoming the party’s nominee.

Barrett, now a senior advisor for the Chicago 2024 Host Committee, is helping launch an art competition for high school students to design buttons, posters, and other art to be displayed during the Democratic National Convention in late August.

“We want to make sure that throughout the convention experience, the delegates, the visitors, our allied groups will have an inescapable opportunity to see the beauty of Chicago through the eyes of our young people and to give them a platform to continue to sharpen their creative pencils,” Barrett said.

Earlier this year, Chicago Public Schools announced it would begin the 2024-25 school year on Aug. 26, slightly later than usual to accommodate traffic and an expected 75,000 additional visitors during the week of the convention, Aug. 19 - 22.

Students and graduating seniors from public and private high schools across the Chicago area have until June 10 at 5 p.m. to submit their designs. Original artwork can include drawings, paintings, photography or other two-dimensional media, but must be created by hand and without the help of artificial intelligence.

One winner will have their design featured on a commemorative button and poster, and will get a $200 Visa gift card and two one-day passes to the convention. Other finalists will be selected to have their art displayed at the convention, which is taking place primarily at the United Center on Chicago’s West Side.

More information about the competition and how to submit is available here.

Becky Vevea is the bureau chief for Chalkbeat Chicago. Contact Becky at

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