Kentucky Derby Museum surprises Grand Prize winner in 35th annual Horsing Around with Art competition

Kentucky Derby Museum surprises Grand Prize winner in 35th annual Horsing Around with Art competition

Kentucky Derby Museum surprises Grand Prize winner in 35th annual Horsing Around with Art competition
Winning student receives tickets to Churchill Downs' Spring Meet

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (January 22, 2021) – Kentucky Derby Museum is pleased to announce the Grand Prize winner of the 35th annual Horsing Around with Art competition, presented by WinStar Farm. Currently around 4,000 miles away from her home in Louisville, 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's artwork, hand drawn with colored pencils, accurately depicts each 146 Derby winning horse. Lepley estimates it took over 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 Mar. 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.

About Kentucky Derby Museum (

Kentucky Derby Museum, a 501(C)(3) non-profit public charity organization in Louisville, Kentucky that has a commitment to ENGAGE, EDUCATE and EXCITE everyone about the extraordinary experience that is the KENTUCKY DERBY.

Horsing Around with Art
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