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Inn at Saint Mary’s holds student photography contest

Jillian Barwick | Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Photography by three Saint Mary’s seniors will decorate the walls of the Inn at Saint Mary’s even after they graduate from the College on Saturday.

Seniors Julie McGrail, Elizabeth Munger and Guadalupe Quintana are the winners of a photography contest hosted by the Inn, and their work will decorate the walls of its guest rooms.

The Inn at Saint Mary’s was renovating 11 guest rooms last fall when one of its owners decided to replace the existing photos with new images, general manager Kim Kudelka said. The contest opened in December.

The owners of The Inn selected the three students’ photographs from over 150 photos submitted to the contest. The Inn announced the contest winners in March.

“At The Inn, we felt that we needed to get back our strong relationship with the College,” Kim Kudelka said. “I have been working here for 10 years, and we all thought it was time to rebuild the relationship. This photo contest was a great way for us to begin.”

The new photos capture scenes from the College campus, she said.

“The old photos were pretty conservative and dated,” Kudelka said. “The ones that we have chosen bring light to the new rooms, and add more of the Saint Mary’s charm to each room.”

Munger said she had already taken pictures of campus when she received the email about entering the photo contest.

“My dad takes pictures, and I was given a big, professional camera for my high school graduation, so I also really enjoy taking pictures,” Munger said. “When I received the email, I already knew which pictures I wanted to send in.”

Munger’s chosen photo, titled “Reflection on Lake Marian,” depicts Haggar Hall reflected on the lake on the Saint Mary’s campus. During a walk from Notre Dame to Saint Mary’s campus, Quintana said she decided to take a snapshot of the trees lining the Avenue.

“I just happened to have my camera, a small digital one, and saw a perfect picture to capture of the fall leaves and trees,” Quintana said. “My photo is titled, ‘A Belle’s Walk Home.'”

McGrail said she had a folder of photos taken on a walk from Saint Mary’s to Notre Dame last spring.

“I sent in about five different pictures, and two of them were chosen to be displayed,” McGrail said. “They are titled ‘Spring at Lake Marian’ and ‘Spring at the Grotto.'”

The seniors said they were all equally surprised to find out they won the contest.

“I was excited because the Inn is so pretty and so many people stay there when they are in town,” Munger said.

Quintana said she was surprised the Inn chose her photo out of from 150 submissions.

“This was really nice because I am a senior and it is something that I can leave behind at Saint Mary’s,” Quintana said.

The Inn honored the winners in April for their achievement.

“There was a reception held at The Inn for each of the winners where we were able to see our photos blown up, framed and hanging up in the renovated rooms,” McGrail said. “There is a suite that holds all of the photos that won the contest. It was really amazing to see our work hanging up at The Inn.”

So far, the Inn has received tremendous feedback on the new rooms with the new photographs, Kudelka said.

“We plan on holding another contest for more photos to be displayed in more renovated rooms,” Kudelka said. “We really want the relationship between The Inn and the College to get back to the way it was.”

As they prepare for Commencement on Saturday, the three seniors said they were glad to leave a lasting mark on Saint Mary’s.

“This contest was such a great way to have a student’s perspective of their home they have lived in for the past four years,” McGrail said. “It is truly a wonderful collaboration.”