The Nationwide Juried Catholic Arts Competition and Exhibition was initiated in 2001 by Brother Nathan Cochran to support artists who make sacred art and to serve as a source for parishes, individuals and others seeking to purchase it.
It has become a biennial event that draws a growing number of submissions of increasingly sophisticated quality from throughout the United States to Saint Vincent Gallery at the college in Latrobe.
While its primary interest is the arts of the Western Christian tradition, the competition is open to other artistic traditions of Christian subject matter.
The fourth exhibition comprises 35 works by 27 artists from nine states including Pennsylvania and as far as Florida and Idaho. Contemporary and traditional expression and media are represented, including icons, oil paintings, stained glass and digital images. Internationally recognized scholars have served as jurors, including BBC and PBS personality Sister Wendy Beckett.
This year's juror was John T. Spike, a specialist in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art who is on the faculty of The College of William & Mary and assistant director and chief curator of The Muscarelle Museum of Art in Williamsburg, Va. He selected three prize and four honorable mention winners for cash awards totaling $3,250.
The first-prize winner is Murrysville resident Christopher Ruane for "The Good Samaritan," an edited digital photograph set in contemporary Downtown Pittsburgh. A classic oil rendering of "Jesus Carrying the Cross" by Matthew James Collins of Oak Park, Ill., received second place, and James Parsons Duncker of Alexandria, Va., won third place for his abstracted cast stone crucifix, "Jesus."
An exhibition catalog, with color reproductions of all exhibited works, is available, free, at the gallery. The exhibition continues through Dec. 9 in the Robert S. Carey Student Center, Saint Vincent College. Gallery hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; closed Nov. 21-25. Admission is free. Information: 724-805-2197 or www.gallery.stvincent.edu.artarchitecture