Sixth-grader's design to appear on a guitar in festival.
McLean Murray ’25 was recently selected as a winning student designer in the Dogwood Arts 2019 Epiphone Guitar Design Contest. Open to all middle and high school students living in East Tennessee, Murray was one of only 15 students selected.
Her winning design features a menagerie of cartoon animals that she first doodled in an art notebook last year. She created her submission with Prisma colored pencils on paper. Now selected she must recreate it on a real guitar, delivered to her last week by contest coordinators.
She has applied the first layer of gesso and will use Japanese paint pens, called Uni-POSCA Paint Marker Pens, to draw her design once again. She has until March 26 to complete her guitar, which will be displayed at Chattanooga’s Songbirds Museum April 1-30. The guitars will then move to Knoxville’s Dogwood Arts Gallery for the first part of May, then on to a special display during the Rhythm N’ Blooms Music Festival on May 17-19.
While on display, the art guitars will be auctioned online to benefit Dogwood Arts and the Songbirds Foundation’s youth art programs. As a finalist, Murray will receive a $50 art supply stipend and weekend tickets to the family-friendly music festival. Additional cash prizes totaling $1,000 will be awarded to participating artists.
Murray has been excited to enter the contest ever since hearing about it a few years ago through her brother, Loch, who was selected as a finalist in seventh and eighth grades. While she did not apply through GPS, Murray’s art teacher Meg Persinger Brock ’79 is not surprised by the recognition.
“McLean is a great art student,” says Brock. “She is thoughtful in her work and really considers her steps and progress through a project. In a recent abstract line drawing project, when she put pen to paper, she already had the concept mapped out in her head. She was painstakingly patient with her detail work and wonderfully creative with the concept.”