Illinois Wants … Your Cicada-Themed Art for a State Fair Exhibit

A cicada specimen. (USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab)A cicada specimen. (USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab)

Move over Butter Cow, this is the cicadas’ year.

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has announced its plan to host a cicada-themed art show during the Illinois State Fair and is seeking entries from the public, looking for interpretations of cicadas or broods.

The exhibit will commemorate 2024’s historic double emergence of Brood XIII cicadas in northern Illinois and Brood XIX in the south. The two haven’t made a joint appearance since 1803, before Illinois was even a state.

“There’s a tremendous amount of interest in cicadas this year in Illinois. They’re fascinating insects, and I’m excited to see what artists from all over Illinois come up with,” Natalie Phelps Finnie, IDNR director, said in a statement.

The deadline for entries is June 16. There will be two exhibits: One featuring artists 17 years of age and younger, and another for those 18 years and older. 

“Artists can be as serious or as silly as they want with this challenge. Realistic, creative, wacky, whimsical, or kitsch — we’re here for it all,” said Phelps Finnie.

Here for it all except AI-generated art, that is. 

Original works can be on paper or canvas, in a variety of mediums, and photography is also being accepted. Staff at IDNR and the Illinois State Museum will review the entries and select finalists.

A People’s Choice award will be voted on by fairgoers. 

The Illinois State Fair will be held Aug. 8-18. Click here for more information on how to submit your cicada art for consideration.

WTTW News is staying on top of the cicada emergence. Find all of our coverage at

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 |  [email protected]

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