LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Mercy Academy student painted her way to six free Derby tickets and $500 for her school’s art studio.
Junior McKayla Rakestraw won the Horsing Around with Art contest. The President of Churchill Downs picked Rakestraw’s painting out of 223 students from 30 different schools. He felt it represented the true spirit of Derby. Rakestraw’s family surprised her at Mercy for the announcement.
"I thought I was in trouble at first, because the principal came and got me,” said Rakestraw. “I'm kind of overwhelmed right now I didn't think I would win at all."
Rakestraw's piece stood out because of the flowers, trophy and Van Gogh inspired back ground. The acrylic painting took a few weeks to finish. Her painting will be displayed in the Derby Museum until next year.
Mercy Academy also won an additional $200. A second student won a contest with the Kentucky Derby Museum, which holds local art contests for students in Jefferson County.
The competition had nine judges. The Kentucky Derby Museum will donate $6,500 to Louisville art programs throughout the contest.
Rakestraw said she has been to Churchill Downs, but has never been to the Kentucky Derby. This year she’ll have box seats from the contest.
Horsing Around With Art is in its 33rd year at the museum.