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Sacred Art Prize 2023 Banner (3714 x 1392 px) (1).jpg

It is our great pleasure to present the winners gallery for the 2023 Sacred Art Prize.

We'd like to graciously thank our jurors,  James C. McCrery, II AIA, NCARB of McCrery Architects and the founder of the traditional architecture program at Catholic University of America and Kathleen Carr, Catholic Art Institute President.


The following gallery reflects their selections from over 388 submissions from nineteen countries including: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic,  Italy, France, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal,    Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States.


The judge’s strong preference for art to be used in Church Sanctuaries, then imagery that draws directly from Holy Scripture, then devotional art. This prioritization has been met by this year’s Prize Winners. Congratulations!

The Prize Winners this year are closely accompanied by a limited number of Honorable Mentions. These artists are to commended for the thoughtfulness evident alongside their skillfulness, for both aspects are minimum requirements of all excellent art – excellence being our constant goal.


If you are interested in purchasing any of the finalist works, please email

Grand Prize in Memory of Sister Mary Paula Beierschmitt, I.H.M.

Formerly Marianna Beierschmitt, Sr. Paula died on Sept. 28, 2013 in Mary Immaculate Convent, Philadelphia, in the 55th year of her religious life. She was 72 years old.

Born in Ashland, Pa., Sister Paula entered the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1958 from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and professed her vows in 1961.

She taught school in various grades in up-state Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. In 1984 Sister Paula pursued further studies at various sites including the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She was commissioned by the Pallottine Fathers to sculpt a bust of their founder, St. Vincent Pallotti, for the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.


For her IHM Community, she sculpted “The Handmaid” and “The Missionary,” a likeness of Father Louis Florent Gillet, the order’s founder. Sister Paula was the founder of the American Academy of the Sacred Arts in Philadelphia, a Catholic arts organization with a nearly identical mission as the Catholic Art Institute.

Sister Mary Paula Beierschmitt, I. H. M. 
Grand Prize

Double sided crucifix for St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Aberdeen, UK

By Martin Earle and Jim Blackstone
Egg tempera and gilt on wood  
10 x 8
 ft. | NFS

Jurors Comments:The San Damiano Crucifix is a new, beautiful and highly-skilled contribution to a centuries-long Franciscan tradition of depicting Christ’s Sacrifice while expounding on its deeper meanings in the adjacent, appended panels. This work combines the fine and allied arts to achieve a radiant, magnificent, unified whole.

St.  Mary of the Assumption Catholic Cathedral in Aberdeen is currently fundraising to be able to install this crucifix as part of a project to re-order the sanctuary. If you are able to help, please visit:

This crucifix was painted at the Chichester Workshop of Liturgical Art.  Alongside providing a space for artists to undertake commissions across a broad range of traditional media, the Chichester Workshop offers an education programme that includes both practical artistic training and theological engagement with the principles of Christian iconography. Find out more at

SECOND PRIZE 5_Icon of The Woman Clothed With the Sun_1.jpeg

2nd Prize

Woman Clothed With the Sun

by Fr. Silouan Justiniano

Egg tempera and gold on gessoed panel
12 x 20 in. | NFS

Jurors Comments:  The Icon of the Woman Clothed with the Sun sets forth in a beautifully composed and carefully rendered icon using egg tempera and gold on a gessoed panel. The composition is immediately captivating. The image’s content is at once deeply thoughtful  imaginative. Overall the work accomplishes a difficult feat – to make legible an image of an impossibly fantastic event almost too other-worldly to comprehend.  


THIRD PRIZE  St Martin de Porres

3rd Prize

St. Martin de Porres

Gwyneth Thompson-Briggs

Oil on canvas
64 x 40 in. |  NFS

Jurors Comments: The Portrait of St Martin de Porres, O.P. is both immediate and lasting. Portraiture is a very difficult endeavor. And portraits of Saints are made yet more challenging for the happy fact that their subjects yet live. Here Martin engages the viewer while looking right beyond the viewer, for he is a beholder of the Beatific Vision. His countenance holds us while re-directing our thoughts to God – which is precisely why we venerate the Saints.  Additionally the artist must be commended for a modesty in originality – the use of gold leaf; the battered background and is the radiant halo painted on that background? For that matter, is the Saint’s image painted on that wall, or is he painted in front of it? It evokes a tempered originality reminiscent of the great painter Fra Angelico, himself a Dominican.

Sacred Art Prize Exhibition 2023

2023 Sacred Art Prize Jurors


James C. McCrery, II AIA, NCARB

Bio:  James McCrery is the founding principal of McCrery Architects, PLLC, a firm committed to the design of churches, civic and university buildings, and unique commissions for clients desiring rich, legible meaning incorporated into their buildings.  He is an internationally recognized leader in classical architectural design and construction. His built works and contributions throughout the United States have
received many awards and have been favorably reviewed  in The New York Times
City Journal, The Washington Business, Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, Period Homes, The New York Post, Country Life (U.K.), The Washington Post, Traditional Building, The Washington Times, New York Daily News, The Classicist, and the National Review.

McCrery is the design architect of the recently completed Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville, Tennessee; The Saint Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken, South Carolina; and the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel at the St. John Newman Center – University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is the architect of the Book and Gift Store in the United States Supreme Court Building, and he designed the pedestal for the statue of President and Governor Ronald Wilson Reagan that stands in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol.

James C. McCrery, II is a member of the faculty of the School of Architecture and Planning at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC where he is the founding Director of the Concentration in Classical Architecture and Urbanism. He is particularly pleased to be an Inaugural Fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. McCrery is a life member and an executive board member of the Supreme Court Historical Society; a founding member of the National Civic Art Society, a National Design Peer of the U.S. General Services Administration, and in December 2019 was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to the United States Commission of Fine Arts.

Kathleen Carr

Kathleen Carr is an award-winning, classically trained painter, illustrator, and designer. She holds a BFA from the Maryland Institute College .


Her painting has received recognition from the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London, The Portrait Society of America, The Art Renewal Center Salon, The Salmagundi Club, The Butler Institute of American Art and many others.


She's an experienced web designer working for major media including Washington Post and National Geographic. 


In higher education, she worked as Design Program Head and taught in the undergraduate program at the Corcoran College of Art in Washington DC.

Her design and illustration work has been recognized by Communication Arts, Adobe, and Apple Quicktime.

She studied classical painting  with Scott Waddell, of Grand Central Atelier , Robert Liberace of the Art Student's League, and Dan Thompson of Studio Incamminati.

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