Art Survivor challenge winner Shauna McNeill (left) with event organizer Mickey Pace from the Brush & Palette Club. Submitted photo.

Shauna McNeill outlasted seven other local artists to take home the title of “Survivor” is the Sanford Brush & Palette Club’s first Art Survivor challenge this spring.

McNeill, a Maine native who studied at the Maine College of Art, bested Chris Dalton (the artist responsible for several downtown Sanford murals) in the final round to win the competition with her cubist apple. The Greenwood Elementary teacher — who says she prefers “painting things that look like things” — says the cubism theme in the final round was a challenge, but one she was happy to take on.

“Nobody does cubism anymore, and it’s a really out-of-the-box style to do,” she said. “That was Picasso’s style — he would break things down and they’d become abstract.”

The Art Survivor challenge was a seven-week competition that started with eight artists, each assigned a new art form or category that they needed to create within a week. The medium was of their choosing, and the categories ranged from animal, waterscape, monochromatic, graffiti, children at play, mountains and, for the final round, cubism.

According to JuliAnn Robinson from the Brush & Palette Club, the art was judged by a diverse selection of referred, non-member individuals with a background in art or an appreciation of fine art.

Each week, one artist was declared a winner, and one artist was eliminated by the judge.

According to event organizer Mickey Pace, the Art Survivor challenge will run every quarter during the year to help promote the club and its artists and to help them get back to producing art and thinking creatively.

McNeill got a $100 prize for the win, but even more important for her was the exposure and the opportunity to create art.

“It’s not about the money, of course, it’s about art. It’s about pushing myself to make a lot more in a short amount of time,” she says. “I loved the challenges this competition brought to me.”

See more of McNeill’s art (some of her work from Art Survivor, including the cubist apple, shown right) at her website,