Young Artist Daria McLaughlin Enters Dalí Art Competition


Every year, the St. Petersburg Salvador Dalí Museum holds an art competition open to middle and high school students in Florida. Tampa Prep students in various grade levels submitted to the surrealist exhibition, but only one made it in: sixth grader Daria McLaughlin.

Although the theme changes each year, the theme for this year’s exhibit was “the shape of dreams,” which encourages students to explore their dreams through an art process of their choice. McLaughlin was thoughtful in the creation of her piece, “Curtain Call,” and even turned to the museum itself for inspiration.

“It was inspired by the last painting I made. It was something related to a piece that’s  in the museum right now, which was centered around strange dreams and achieving your goals,” McLaughlin explained.

In regards to the process of creating “Curtain Call,” McLaughlin wasn’t afraid to take risks that had the potential to either slow or enhance the piece.

“I had different smaller drawings I tried working with during the whole process, but those didn’t end up working out. I tried new things, which sometimes looked good and sometimes didn’t. The drawing I ended up with took me about a week,” McLaughlin stated.

Art is not unfamiliar to McLaughlin, either. Not only has she been busy in Martha DeAmbrose’s art class throughout the year, but she also spends time drawing in her free time.

“I’ve really liked art for a while now. I enjoy doing it for fun, and I like doing it at home. I’m excited to keep practicing and making new things, said McLaughlin.

Although the rules for next year’s Dalí competition aren’t yet known, when asked about what others should generally remember when submitting to the exhibit, McLaughlin advised that one should “never give up and try your best.”