Skip to main content

Valley Journals

Murray High student-artists honored at Capitol

Apr 09, 2018 04:33PM ● By Julie Slama

Murray High senior Elise Finlinson’s award-winning “Reflections of Youth” is on display at the 46th annual Utah All-State High School Art Show. (Elise Finlinson/Murray High)

Two Murray High students recently were honored for their artwork of family members at the state Capitol.

State legislators and others applauded seniors Elise Finlinson and Jeb Price in February as both received outstanding art awards along with other area high school artists.

Elise submitted “Reflections of Youth” in the 46th annual Utah All-State High School Art Show, a juried art show that reviews original artwork developed from personal experience, imagination or direct observation or adapted concepts developed from other sources using multiple elements or photos with personal interpretation to create a new perception.

Her entry was a 36-inch by 40-inch oil painting of her 11-year-old sister, Anna, riding the tram at Snowbird.

“She’s looking out the window and you can see her face reflected in the window, but also the green of the canyon she’s looking at while riding the tram,” Elise said. “I was videoing and liked the way it looked so I took a screen shot of her to paint.”

Elise was presented with the fourth congressional district honorable mention award, which includes a cash prize, by a representative of Congresswoman Mia Love’s office. Her piece also was selected to be in a traveling show around Utah after the Springville show was set to close March 23.

“I worked on it for about two months,” she said, estimating it was about 90 minutes every other day. “My sister is really excited, but she still hasn’t seen it so we’ll have to take her to see it in the museum. It’s really exciting to have my artwork validated and be shown in a gallery. It’s a real confidence boost.”

This was the second time Elise’s artwork has been featured in the Springville art show. Last year, she had an oil painting, “Jack in Threes,” displayed.

Elise said that before entering it into the show, both times she and other students gave them to their art teachers to review. Then, they selected the ones to advance to the show for judges there to select ones for the show.

“I’ve taken art classes since I was 14 and my focus is to develop skills so I can make a career out of it. I think art is an expression of self. I like to look at something regular, mundane and see something beautiful and draw people’s eyes toward it. Art gives me a release, an expression, a purpose. If I’m not creating, I’m not being productive,” she said.

Her classmate, Jeb Price, received sixth-place award and $500 in the annual Utah Senate Visual Arts Competition. His artwork currently is being shown in the capitol.

Sponsored by Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and administered by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, this year’s winners reflected the theme, “The People of Utah.”

Jeb’s artwork was a stipple of his grandfather, LaMarr Hutchison, who worked 19 years as a bailiff for the Utah court system and had served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

“I wrote a description about him, what he did and how he impacted so many people,” Jeb said about his late grandfather. “He had a tough sense of humor, but was really kind inside.”

Jeb, who spent about three weeks creating the dotted artwork, said he will give the piece to his grandmother once it returns home from both the Capitol and from being displayed at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

“It took a lot more time because it had to be precise with adding values and depths, creating shadows, a darker outline,” he said. 

Although Jeb hopes to pursue a career in construction management, he will continue to “doodle” and may look into architecture. 

He said more than 300 high school students competed for the award.

“Finding out that I was accepted and won an award was sweet. I didn’t see it coming,” Jeb said. “I was on the senate floor and shook hands with the legislators. That’s pretty cool.”