Form and function

Published 6:01 am Thursday, February 1, 2007

By Staff
Move over, Bob Timberlake. There are some young artists throughout the state ready to take your place as one of the state’s, if not the world’s, best outdoor artists.
Some of those young artists provided evidence of their talent with their entries in the N.C. 2007 Junior Duck Stamp contest, which was held Tuesday at the N.C. Estuarium. If nothing else, the competition provided proof that art, especially wildlife art, in North Carolina is alive and well.
When a entry submitted by a 9-year-old child makes the top five pieces of a contest open to children from kindergarten kids to high-school seniors, that’s encouraging. It’s good to know that someone that young and living in North Carolina has that much talent. It’s good to know that student, who is being home-schooled, is being encouraged by his parents to spend time doing something other than just reading, writing and arithmetic.
The Federal Junior Duck Stamp program’s Web Site explains why the program and its state counterparts are more than just art contests.
It’s the education component of the program that will help preserve and protect the nation’s wildlife. The art contests associated with the program make it easy on the eye as that preservation and protection are being carried out.
There were many outstanding pieces of artwork included in the 600 or so entries in the North Carolina contest this year. Media included pencil, crayons, watercolor, acrylic, oil and what appeared to be finger painting.
Christian Hunt’s “Alert,” an acrylic painting depicting a wood duck, collected 24 points, one short of a perfect score, from the judges. Hunt is a 15-year-old sophomore at Tuscola High School in Waynesville. Based on the entry he submitted this year, there’s a good chance he could win the state contest in his junior and senior years. Hunt’s winning entry moves on to the national contest later this year.
When young people are provided an opportunity to showcase their talents in a way that helps conserve wildlife, we should expect some of them to step up and show they will make the most of that opportunity. Adults must make sure young people are provided such an opportunity so they can help preserve and protect wildlife.
Somewhere in North Carolina, the next Bob Timberlake may be receiving encouragement and opportunities from the N.C. Junior Duck Stamp program.
For those of us who can’t draw or paint, we can do our part to help conservation efforts by buying duck stamps.
It’s a good thing when a young person’s artwork showcases his or her talent. It’s a better thing when that artwork draws attention to the need for conservation efforts to protect and preserve wildlife so there will be ducks, geese or swans for young artists to draw.
For it would be a shame to discover one day the only wood ducks left in the world are those hanging on a wall in a museum, art gallery or someone’s home.