Enter the Buttons Up! Button Design Contest & button pack in partnership with Busy Beaver Button Co. | Reader events | Chicago Reader

Enter the Buttons Up! Button Design Contest & button pack in partnership with Busy Beaver Button Co. 

The Chicago Reader is seeking artist submissions to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

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The Reader will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in October 2021. We are proud to announce an artist and illustrator contest, the Buttons Up! Button Design Contest, which looks to highlight the Reader’s commitment to continue supporting Chicago and it’s creative scene over the past five decades.

The top five winning designs (one per decade) will be featured in a button pack that will be available for the Reader community starting October 2021.

The Buttons Up! Button Design Contest calls all local artists to submit original artwork and encouraged to choose which of the five decades they would like to represent (1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s) in their designs. The contest will begin Monday, June 7, 2021. Finalists from submissions received will be selected by the Reader staff. Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria: creativity, composition, theme, and decade representation. The Reader community and interested members of the public will vote online to choose winners, one for each of the five decades, from among the finalists.

We invite all people from the Chicago area to participate in the competition. There will be one winner to represent each decade. Winners will be announced in the September 2021 Chicago Reader print issues and on chicagoreader.com, and across all our social media platforms, receive $100 stipend, and customized stickers from Busy Beaver Button Co.

For the selected artists this is an opportunity to have their work appreciated by all of Chicago.

In partnership with

Busy Beaver Button Co. 26 years and going strong * since 1995 *

Competition details

Submissions will be accepted online from Monday, June 7, 2021, until noon on Friday, July 16, 2021.
Public voting begins from noon on Monday, August 2, 2021 and ends at noon on Friday, August 20, 2021
(Central Time)

The contest is open to artists and illustrators in the Chicago area.

To enter this contest, participants must submit their own artwork on the form below. Be creative and use your imagination with a particular reference on which decade (1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s) your artwork centers. You are allowed to submit up to five files (no more than one design per decade).

Upload a jpeg of your design or illustration. Be prepared to submit artwork according to Busy Beaver Button Co.’s guidelines if your design or illustration wins! (We will contact you, so be sure the e-mail address you provide is current, and provide your phone number if that is a better way to contact you.)


The Chicago Reader shall not be responsible for any loss or damage that may occur by entering this contest and the Chicago Reader reserves the right to make changes to the rules of the contest without prior notification.

Agenda Teaser

June 12
Galleries & Museums
Monet and Chicago Art Institute of Chicago
February 11

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