Public PK-12 School District in Dalton, Georgia

Dalton Public Schools News

Audrey Marie Merryman Wins Big at State Art Competition
Audrey and her winning art piece

Dalton High School student Audrey Marie Merryman recently won first place at the 2023 Georgia High School Ceramic Arts Awards and Symposium. The competition consisted of over 300 applicants from some of the best programs in the state of Georgia. 

After seeing photos of her piece, which shows a bunny hopping in three different positions, one of the judges instantly said, “that one is first place,” before even seeing it in person. 

Merryman has been an artist from a young age, in fact, she can’t remember exactly when she first started making art. 

“My pre-k teacher said I was a very good artist,” Merryman said. “My mom has told me that story, but I don’t recall it, so I started in art as a very young child before I have any active memories.” 

She started making pottery during her freshman year of high school, and as a junior has already won multiple other awards for other pieces she’s created. 

When working on her art pieces, Merryman says she doesn’t do it with the intention of entering competitions necessarily, but instead focuses on the creative process and making art that she loves.

“When I work, I only focus on the art I’m creating,” Merryman said. “My goal is to make art that I love, and that people might want to buy. Ms. Lambert, my teacher, helps me find competitions and selects which piece might be most suited for contests.”  

Merryman’s teacher, Ree Lambert, said that her dedication to her art is what allows her to be so successful.

“Audrey has been an absolute delight to have in class,” Lambert said. “She has the kind of work ethic that it takes to be an aspiring artist. In the past, when she did not have my class on her schedule, she would come to work on her art instead of leaving early when she had off-campus. She is open to criticism, listens to feedback, and maks adjustments to make her art stand out more. She never stops creating and challenging herself which is an admirable quality in anyone.” 

Merryman said that her favorite part of the competition was getting to speak with the judge, who is also a professional artist, about her future career in the art world.

“The best part of this competition was meeting Rich Brown, the judge and a very successful artist himself,” Merryman said. “He talked with me about art schools and how to develop and market my art – that was the best part of the competition.” 

In the future, Merryman said she would like to be a fulltime professional artist. 

“I'd like to become a very successful artist who is well known in the art world,” Merryman said. “I'd like to have gallery shows in Paris and New York and see my works in places around the world.”