Artwork inspires, educates

Published 4:23 pm Saturday, February 1, 2014

Plenty of behind-the-scenes work goes into putting on the annual East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and North Carolina Decoy Carving Championships in Washington.

This year, the two forces behind the festival, one of Washington’s signature events, are the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild and the Washington Tourism Development Authority. The festival does play a part in the area’s economy, bringing in vendors and visitors who spend money while availing themselves of what the festival has to offer.

The festival showcases some of the finest wildlife art in the world. Aside from being a joy to look at, that artwork helps educate people about the wildlife that inhabits the region and other areas of the world. That artwork tells the story of wildfowl such as tundra swans, Canada geese, mallard ducks and snowy owls. That artwork provides inspiration for many people to help protect wildlife and wildlife habitat.

The decoy carvings help explain a way of life that goes back centuries and provide evidence of the talents of the carvers who create such life-like carvings. The carvings help provide lessons in biology, lessons beyond those taught in classrooms.

The carvings, whether they are decoys or depict other wildlife, prove that art is more than paintings and drawings that can be framed. The carvings bring wildlife almost to life in a three-dimensional way.

But if you want to enjoy pieces of art just because they are pretty, there’s nothing wrong with that.

The festival kicks off Friday night with the unveiling of the painting selected to serve as the artwork for the 2014 North Carolina Waterfowl Conservation Stamp. The festival ends Sunday with announcements of the carving-contest winners.

Between those events, there will be plenty of amazing artwork to view — and purchase.

Don’t miss it.