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2024 Sacred Art Competition & Exhibition

Call for Entry:

Seeking the finest contemporary sacred art for an online juried exhibition hosted by the Catholic Art
Institute, with a world-wide audience and the opportunity to sell work, be featured on the

Catholic Art Institute website.

Sr. Mary Paul Beierschmitt I.H.M. Grand Prize: $2500

Second Prize: $750

Sponsored by The Center for Beauty and Culture, Benedictine College


Third Place: $250


Competition Opens: January 2024       Submission Deadline: Aug. 1, 2024
Notification Date: Sept. 23, 2024

2024 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.

The Sacred Art Prize is Closed for Submissions

Submissions Criteria:

Evident mastery of the artistic medium employed – meeting high standards in the fundamental facets of the artistic craft including mature competency in the use of the human figure.

Content – represents Biblical or Ecclesiastical subjects suitable for pious devotional and/or liturgical use while demonstrating knowledge and continuity of historical artistic practice in the Catholic tradition.

Effectiveness in sacramental revelation – works of art which reach beyond a mere copy of an earthly object, portrait of a model, political statement, or the technological process, will be given preference.


Subjects Sought:


Subjects sought (but not limited to) include scenes from the Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ; other biblical scenes, stories, and characters; depictions of the saints and their lives; current and historical events in the life of the Church; depictions of the seven sacraments; personifications of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, virtues and vices, icons and so on.


This article in the Sacred Architecture Journal by Cody Swanson on Sacred Art provides guidance on the types of work the Catholic Art Institute is seeking for this call.

Subject Restrictions:


Media limited to representational painting, illumination, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, liturgical textiles, stained glass, mosaic, altar furnishings and devotional items such as medals.

Artwork must be recognizable and appropriate for liturgical use, public or private devotion.

No photography, hyper-realism, or computer-generated art will be accepted.

Subjects which will not be considered include:


  • copies of existing works (excluding Icons)

  • portrayals of non-canonized persons as saints

  • works which are only recognizably religious from their titles

  • scenes of the exterior or interior of churches (unless the work is illustrating an important religious/historical event or the administration of the sacraments)

  • mass produced statues which have been painted or statue restoration projects.


Eligibility: This competition and exhibition is open to any artist over the age of 18, professional or amateur, of any religious background. All entries must be original, by the submitting artist, and created within in the past ten years.  Limit five entries per artist. Works need not be for sale to be eligible. Mark your submission NFS (not for sale).

If you have any questions about eligibility please email

Submission Process:

Fill out the entry form on the right hand side of this page and upload images that conform to the requirements listed below.

Upon submitting the form, please wait for the PayPal pop-up and prompt to pay for your submissions. You will receive a confirmation email from PayPal when your submissions have been received. If you have not received a confirmation email, then we did not receive your entries.

We are only able receive submission payments electronically through PayPal or by credit card. We cannot accept wire transfers. If you wish to enter the competition from outside the US and cannot use PayPal, please email and we will do our best to find an alternative solution.





Submission Fees:


Members of the CAI: $35 for 1-3 entries, $10 per additional entry for a maximum of 5 entries.

Non-members: $50 for 1-3 entries, $15 per additional entry for a maximum of 5 entries

Please add the total amount to the form as it will not automatically know the amount to charge since each participant is entering differing numbers of entries.

Image Requirements:

Each uploaded image label must be formatted to include your first name, last name, title of work, and number of the entry. E.g. JaneDoe_Anunciation__1.jpg

Please provide clear images large enough to view to show detail. Images should be around between 1-4 MB each, and not to exceed 25 MB for entire form entry.  Images should be in JPEG format. Large printable files that exceed 5MB will not upload correctly to the form.

We cannot assist participants in preparing their images but if you have questions, please feel free to email us at

Please include the following information for each image to text box under area to upload images to add image details:

  • Artist’s full name

  • Title of work

  • Media

  • Price for sale or NFS

  • Dimensions in inches (height x width) or (height x width x depth)

  • If possible, please provide an image that does not have your signature visible.


By entering the competition you consent to allowing the Catholic Art Institute to display images of your work on the Catholic Art Institute website and social media accounts, if you are selected for the exhibition.

Jane Doe’s Submissions
1.The Annunciation, oil on canvas, $3000, 11 x 14”
2. Bust of St Francis, terracotta, NFS, 20 x 12 x 12”

“I consent for my artwork images to be published on Catholic Art Institute social media platforms and website.”

Artist’s Instagram account if applicable.


Sales and Shipping:


A 15% sales commission will go to the Catholic Art Institute on all sales. Please consider the 15% commission in the price of your work.


Artists are responsible for shipping their work to buyers, should it sell as a result of this online show. For the safe delivery of your work, we strongly recommend using an Airfloat Strongbox or Masterpak Titan Strongbox  for shipping your work to buyers.

The Catholic Art Institute is not responsible for loss or damage to the artwork while in transit.

For particpation in the live exhibit at Catholic University, additional instructions about delivery will be emailed to the selected finalists.

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