Two MSM students win in inaugural art competition

Two Mount St. Mary students were recently chosen as winning artists in the inaugural Historic Cane Hill Art Competition and Exhibition. Senior Audrey Caruthers’s pen and ink piece, The Natural State, won the second-place Juror’s Prize and a $1,000 cash award. Junior Caroline Gunderman received one of two $75 Awards of Excellence for her pencil drawing, Wisdom. The winning artists were announced during an awards ceremony in Fayetteville on Saturday, December 14.


Of the 52 pieces of artwork accepted into the competition from high school students across the state, 10 were pieces created by students at Mount St. Mary Academy. In addition to Audrey and Caroline, seniors Ireland McNally, Merritt Sage and Maria Thomas also had artwork selected for the competition and resulting exhibition. The exhibition features work from 30 Arkansas high school students and is scheduled to run through January 18 in The Museum Gallery at Historic Cane Hill near Fayetteville.


The students’ success in this new competition failed to surprise their art teachers at Mount. “We have such an incredibly talented group of students, and I am always so impressed by their ability and concepts,” Marianne Nolley, MSM art teacher, said. “I am very proud of Audrey and Caroline, especially, and look forward to seeing all of the ways in which they will continue to use their talent and thoughtfulness.”


MSM art teacher Jenny Holder agreed, calling Audrey an “artistic powerhouse that produces thoughtful, dynamic work that is way above the norm for this level.” She also described Caroline as “extremely talented,” explaining that she was able to skip from Studio Art I to Honors Studio Art III and is now one of the top in that class, skill-wise.


Historic Cane Hill, Inc., a non-profit organization based in the art-friendly community of Cane Hill in Northwest Arkansas, hosted the event as a way to celebrate the talents of the state’s young artists. Arkansas students in grades 10th-12th were invited to enter the competition, which awards a one-year, full-tuition scholarship to the University of Arkansas School of Art as well as six additional cash prizes totaling $2,000. Jurors included representatives from Historic Cane Hill, the University of Arkansas School of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville and the Community Creative Center in Fayetteville.

Mount St. Mary Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, develops young women with a moral and intellectual foundation rooted in Catholic tradition. Mercy-minded and college-prepared, our students meet the future with wisdom, compassion and integrity.