Holy Cross 6th-grader uses imagination, technique to win first place in art contest

Nice details and use of techniques that showed a lot of effort and craftsmanship – and it told the story. 

Those were some of the reasons judges chose Omaha Holy Cross School sixth-grader Vivianna Schlueter’s artwork as winner of her age category (grades four through six) and as grand prize winner in this year’s Catholic Voice Colors of Christmas art contest. 

“It has a lot of great shading and blending – there’s a lot of skill in the tools that were used,” said Curtis Marolf, art teacher at Archbishop Bergan Catholic School in Fremont and one of three judges reviewing the 1,841 entries in this year’s contest.

“What first caught my eye was how bright the colors were and how well the shading was done – I liked the shadows and the highlights,” said judge CaSandra Johnson, art teacher at Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School in Bellevue. “I also liked that it’s a contemporary style.”

Schlueter said she learned that style from friends and developed her shading techniques with help from her mother and YouTube videos. 

This year’s subject was the journey of the three Magi bringing their gifts to the Christ child (Mt 2:9-11).

“I loved being able to draw it like I saw it, because I got to interpret it like I wanted it to look,” Schlueter said. “There was no specific picture to go off of, so I could use my imagination.”

Judge Rebekah Menzel, art teacher at St. Mary School in Bellevue, appreciated the accuracy with which Schlueter followed the assignment. 

“She was presented with a Bible verse, and that’s what she followed,” Menzel said. “It showed the star, the three Wise Men, it showed Mary with Jesus. She took what she heard, imagined it and depicted that in a very stylized way.”

In its eighth year, and underwritten by Catholic Mutual Group, the contest was open to students in Catholic schools or parish religious education programs, or Catholic homeschooled students in families registered in parishes in the archdiocese.

Students competed in three grade categories: K-1, 2-3 and 4-6. 

In addition to having their artwork published in the Catholic Voice and on the newspaper’s website (, winners received gift cards from participating sponsors – The Cosgrave Company and Gloria Deo Catholic Books and Gifts, both in Omaha, and Divine Truth Christian Store in La Vista.

Prizes were: $50 for first place winners, $30 for second place and $20 for third place. The grand prize winner received an additional $30 in gift cards.

Sign up for weekly updates and news from the Archdiocese of Omaha!
This is default text for notification bar