The Center for Lincoln Studies furthers the mission of the University of Illinois Springfield by providing activities related to the study of Lincoln, Springfield, the state of Illinois, and the nation.  Through education, research, and outreach, the Center provides students, faculty, scholars, and the public with opportunities to understand the life and times of the 16th President and his impact on the modern period.

The Center is actively involved in various Lincoln-related research and publication projects, focusing on making primary sources available for students, scholars, and the public. Here are a few of the projects the Center is a part of.

Making Our History:

Artists Render Lincoln’s Legacy

The Center for Lincoln Studies (CLS) and Visual Arts at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) invite applications for an innovative remote artist-in-residency program focusing on the legacies of Abraham Lincoln. Twenty artists will be selected from throughout the state to participate in the residency during the 2021-2022 academic year. They will learn and think about Lincoln’s varied legacies in monthly meetings with each other and with faculty from Visual Arts and CLS; they will also present and discuss their art in-progress at several of the meetings. Each artist’s object will be to create art that stimulates conversation about the American past.

The artworks will be exhibited from August to September 2022 in the Visual Arts Gallery at UIS, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, and the Springfield Art Association. The exhibitions will include short videos that document the making of the physical art and explore each artist’s historical perspective and artistic approach. The videos will later form the basis of a permanent digital exhibit hosted by the Center for Lincoln Studies. The digital exhibit will document the historical legacies explored by the artists and will provide resources for K-12 teachers to teach about Lincoln and the American past.


Artists must be residents of Illinois during the period of the residency, participate in seven Zoom meetings during the residency program, agree to be filmed in their studio about the art-making process, and deliver a finished work of art to UIS by June 30, 2022. Artists will receive $2500 for their artwork, which will become the property of the University of Illinois.

Selection Process

The juried artists will reflect geographical diversity, diversity of form, method, and concept, and diversity of background. Faculty, graduate students, and alumni of the University of Illinois will receive extra consideration for up to eight of the twenty slots, and the jury will seek to include at least four graduate students to create opportunities for emerging artists. Applications should include the following, submitted in PDF format at Artist Call For Entry:

  • curriculum vitae
  • portfolio of up to 10 relevant artworks (Note: portfolio may be submitted as a set of links to specific artworks instead of in PDF form)
  • 150 to 300 word personal statement addressing the applicant’s interest in the residency, approach to artistic collaboration, and preliminary ideas for a project on Lincoln’s legacy.

Please email questions to jury chair Graham Peck, Wepner Distinguished Professor of Lincoln Studies at UIS, at Deadline for receipt of the applications is September 1, 2021.


  • Selection of artists-in-residency: September 15, 2021
  • Residency period: September 2021 to May 2022
  • Delivery of art: June 30, 2022
  • Exhibition schedule: August-September 2022

Making Our History: Artists Render Lincoln’s Legacy is funded by the University of Illinois 2021 Presidential Initiative: Expanding the Impact of the Arts and Humanities.