Proclaiming Beauty: The Sculpture of Kate Marin

If beauty will save the world, then Kate Marin is on the front lines of the new evangelization.

Her Christ statue Ecce Homo a won the top prize at the sacred art competition in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, in 2017.

Now, a year later, her statue St. John the Baptist Preaching (shown) has won the St. Thomas the Apostle Award at the same competition.

The Kansas competition is meant to encourage artists to share the beauty of the faith.

“Beauty has the capacity to draw people to God and think of things beyond this world,” said Arcbishop Joseph Naumann about the competition. “Artists can evangelize through their art, demonstrating through beauty that there is order and meaning in the cosmos.”

Marin, of St. Francis, Kansas, graduated from Benedictine College in 2012 and then studied at the Sacred Art School in Florence, Italy.

We asked her about her Italian adventure.

 What’s the hardest thing to adjust to in your sculpture studies?

Lack of time! A year and a half is not much time, and there are so few hours in a day and so many incredible things to give my time to. Sculpture takes a lot of time. Learning a new culture and language takes time. The time here has flown by but it has been so full and fulfilling. I’m trying to make the most of every moment — because my legal status runs out soon

 What have you found surprisingly easy in the program?

Sculpture. This is my first time sculpting and it has come very naturally. Not to say that I haven’t had to work incredibly hard with it and that I don’t still have tons to learn but I say it’s easy because it feels like it’s what I am meant to be doing.

What do you miss about Kansas?

Just the ease and comfort of everyday living situations. But we aren’t made for ease and comfort. Every day outside your own culture is a challenge, mostly in the little things, but I have grown so much because of it.

What work you’re most proud of?

I can’t choose one. I overcame a new challenge in each sculpture and learned different but equally valuable lessons with each one, so they are all near and dear to my heart. Every project helped me discover this new language of sculpture a little better and helped me to develop my voice a little better. It seems unfair to say I am most proud of my most recent sculptures just because the anatomy and forms are better when it was those first sculptures that taught me what I needed to know in order to make these last ones what they are.

How well did Benedictine College prepare you for what you are doing?

My time spent at Benedictine in my undergrad and as an adjunct professor in the art department really helped me to enter this program at the right level. It allowed me to make pretty solid works from the start even though this program was a totally new academic method and sculpture was a medium that I had barely touched before.

I am very grateful for the education I received prior to this one and I pray that Benedictine’s art department continues to grow and receive the necessary support. The Church needs artists and artists need a solid formation and place equipped to help them go deeper into their gift so that through it they can serve our world that is so starved for beauty.

Photo courtesy The Leaven.
See and support Marin’s work at: KateMarinArt.com

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.