Student visiting in Alaska surprised by Kentucky Derby art win

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – A Louisville student who spent hours drawing all 146 previous winners of the Kentucky Derby was 4,000 miles from home when she found out her work was the winner in the Kentucky Derby art competitin.
Elizabeth Lepley, a senior at Christian Academy of Louisville, found out the news via Zoom while in Alaska! Her reaction in this video is priceless! 
Lepley is the Grand Prize winner of the 35th annual Horsing Around with Art competition, presented by WinStar Farm. 
Lepley’s artwork, hand drawn with colored pencils, accurately depicts each 146 Derby winning horse. Lepley estimates it took more than 70 hours to complete the piece, in addition to numerous hours painstakingly researching the correct colors and markings of each Kentucky Derby winner since 1875.
The intricacy of this piece is spectacular, truly breathtaking,” said Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs, who served as a judge selecting the Grand Prize. “I love the connection with the history of this great race and how it centers around the Twin Spires.”
In addition to the Derby’s signature garland of roses around each horse, Triple Crown winners are also drawn with yellow and white flowers to mark their Preakness and Belmont wins.
Lepley is attending her virtual learning while currently in Alaska with a parent who is a pilot. It was 6 a.m. where she is when she learned the news, as Heather Hill, the Museum’s Horsing Around with Art coordinator, Lepley’s art teacher and parent were on the Zoom meeting to make the announcement.
Lepley has entered Kentucky Derby Museum’s Horsing Around with Art contest for many years, and has won a variety of awards, but never the Grand Prize.
“This year (I thought) I better go big or go home. I’m just going to cry now, I’m so happy!” said Lepley, after receiving the news.
She receives a Race Day experience during Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet, high quality art supplies, a plaque, certificate, and ribbon.  In addition, Christian Academy of Louisville will receive $500 donated to its art department.
Students in grades 1-12 from Louisville Metro public, private and parochial schools could enter the juried contest, which showcases the student’s take on the Kentucky Derby in different artistic style, media and form.
All entries, more than 85 total from over 20 schools, will be on display for two months at Kentucky Derby Museum.
The exhibit runs now through March 14.
Lepley’s winning artwork will be on display for one year at the Museum. Guests can view the exhibit in the Museum’s Carl F. Pollard Gallery or at home virtually with this link.
Additionally, the public can vote for their favorite artwork online for the Viewer’s Choice Award!
Judging took place Jan. 15, and included a panel of several local artists, Kentucky Derby Museum President & CEO, Patrick Armstrong, Churchill Downs President Mike Anderson, WinStar Farm marketing Director Linzay Marks, and the Museum’s official milliner, Jenny Pfanenstiel.
All winners for eight Distinctive Awards will receive various prizes, including a private tour of historic Hermitage Farm, a workshop led by Master Milliner Jenny Pfanenstiel and high quality art supplies.
This year, Kentucky Derby Museum is giving out 49 awards, from Grand Prize to Honorable Mention. A total of $6,300 will be donated to winning schools’ art departments.
All winners and exhibiting students will be recognized in a virtual ceremony with the Kentucky Derby Museum on Feb. 23.
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