Program Description

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration is coordinated through the Office of Elizabeth Crider Derry, Regional Superintendent of School, and the Peoria County Regional Office of Education and supported by the Friends of Peoria County ROE #48.

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration serves as a non-competitive environment for showcasing the talents of area children that encourages participation in the arts at a formative time in their lives -- PreK through 12th grade. It also heightens the community's awareness that the arts are an important component of our young people’s development.

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration has created public and private partnerships supporting Arts in education. This unique project has become a testimonial to our shared commitment to the arts.

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration is held at the Peoria County Courthouse Plaza. During the spring and summer seasons the Plaza has many lunchtime food vendors attracting thousands of midday diners. This landmark structure, located in the heart of Peoria’s business district, has a lovely park-like setting.

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration transforms the Courthouse Plaza with three staging areas where performances take place simultaneously. Exhibits and demonstrations are placed in prominent locations around the Plaza in addition to the stages.

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration is a five to six-week event during April and May each year. The performance schedule is from 11:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. each weekday. It showcases the Fine Arts and Applied Arts programs of over 100 schools from seven counties: Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall, Fulton, Henry, and McLean. Over 12,000 students and 400 teachers participate.

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration features over 250 performances, including band, orchestra, choir, drama, dance, and speech. In addition to the performances, there are art exhibits and demonstrations that feature painting, drawing, collage, ceramics, metal works, fiber arts, weaving, photography, woodworking, drafting, horticulture, agriculture, home economics, food, and clothing.

Each student is offered a personalized "Certificate of Participation" from the Peoria County Regional Superintendent of Schools. Also, each school receives an engraved brass plaque recognizing its participation.

The Governor of Illinois, the Mayor of Peoria, and the Chairperson of the Peoria County Board proclaim the months of April and May:

"GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration Months."

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration was originally designed for schools in the Peoria County region. However, its advocacy for Arts in education quickly drew requests from surrounding counties for inclusion in the program. Today the Spring Celebration showcases the Fine Arts and Applied Arts programs of over 100 schools from seven counties in Central Illinois: Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Fulton, Marshall, Henry, and McLean. Over 12,000 students and more than 400 teachers participate each year.

The GMB Arts in Education Spring Celebration's growth is evidence of its success: 1986 showcased 1,000 students, 30 teachers, and 12 Peoria County schools in a one-week event; over 3 decades later, it showcases over 100 schools from seven Central Illinois counties.