St. Mary student hopes winning artwork portrays strength after struggle

“Root” by Maria Trapane won the Best in Show Award at the Mann Art Gallery’s ninth annual High School Juried Art Show. To see more of her artwork, you can follow Trapane on Facebook and Instagram (Mann Art Gallery/Submitted)

Grade 11 student Maria Trapane was shocked to hear she won the Best in Show Award at the Mann Art Gallery’s High School Juried Art Show—it was the first time she’d ever participated in an art exhibition.

The ninth annual show took an online approach this year due to COVID-19. Photos of the 76 artworks are split into six categories: Sculptures, A Word From The Students, Boundless Beauty, A Walk In Nature, Reflections and A Dale Auger Study.

Trapane’s winning piece, titled “Root,” is under A Word From The Students. In this category, according to curator Danielle Castle, the artists expressed their inspirations or what their pieces mean to them.

Trapane simply wrote “Our words reveal what we think, and our thoughts create our life.” This is portrayed in the charcoal on paper piece, depicting a tree with a hand as its roots.

“I got the idea from the old saying that storms make trees take deeper roots,” she told the Daily Herald.

“I just tried coming up with an idea that wouldn’t just reflect my life, but also everyone else’s. So for me, the meaning of that art is that everything is going to be risky and so scary, yet at the same time, so beautiful. Maybe the truth is it shouldn’t be easy to be amazing and it’s the things you fight for and struggle (through) that goes along with it that have the greatest worth.”

Trapane started doing art around Grade 5, following in the footsteps of her sister. Back then, she mainly used charcoal and graphite, but expanded into oil paintings a couple of years later.

After she graduates high school, she plans to be an interior designer and continue selling her art.

Trapane created the piece for a class assignment at St. Mary High School. She submitted it to the High School Juried Art Show after encouragement from her teacher.

“It was amazing. I wasn’t really expecting it to win,” she said.

“Art is more than painting. It’s an expression of emotions that cannot be expressed through words and I’m very happy that people have actually been sharing their feelings with me and I’m really happy that I’m able to communicate through my art.”

Trapane’s award for Best in Show was sponsored by On the Avenue Artisan’s Gallery. Her second submission, an acrylic on canvas piece called “Nature of Complaints,” is pictured in the Boundless Beauty section.

Five others also walked away with cash prizes.

The Artistic Achievement Award, sponsored by the Mann Art Gallery, went to Allison Dyck for “Pretty in Pink.” Tia-Lee McCallum was awarded Juror’s Choice in honour of John V. Hicks for her piece called “Two.”

The Juicy Colour Award, sponsored by Cheryl Ring, went to Amara Billo for “Bluejay.” Ring also sponsored the Creative Clay Award, presented to Chantelle Masymic for “Black and Orange.”

Lastly, the Artistic Innovation Award, sponsored by Prince Albert Council for the Arts, went to Lacey Noon for “MMIW,” a ribbon skirt.

The Kyla Artist’s Group is sponsoring the People’s Choice Award. To cast your vote, email with the title and artist’s name by June 20.

“Curating this show taught me many things, but most importantly it taught me that connection is vital, especially during a time of a crisis and when words fail us, we can always turn to art no matter the form that it comes in,” said Castle, the Mann Art Gallery’s acting educator, in the online reception.

“Even though we cannot come together right now, we can still get to know each other through the expressions and the reflections of this exhibition.”

To view this year’s High School Juried Art Show, visit Castle received 84 submissions from École St. Mary High School, Carlton Comprehensive High School, Prince Albert Collegiate Institute, Regent Academy and Lloydminster Comprehensive High School.

Allison’s Dyck’s “Pretty in Pink” won the Artistic Achievement Award. (Mann Art Gallery/Submitted)
Tia-Lee McCallum was awarded the Juror’s Choice Award for “Two.” (Mann Art Gallery/Submitted)
The Juicy Colour Award went to Amara Billo for “Bluejay.” (Mann Art Gallery/Submitted)
Chantelle Masymic won the Creative Clay Award for “Black and Orange.” (Mann Art Gallery/Submitted)
Lacey Noon’s ribbon skirt, titled “MMIW,” took home the Artistic Innovation Award. (Mann Art Gallery/Submitted)