A great day for wildlife and art

Published 11:12 am Monday, February 12, 2018


This week marks the reemergence of the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival. For more than 20 years, the festival graced the Washington Civic Center and the Washington waterfront, pulling in hundreds of tourists. After a year off, the festival has returned. Today is its last day.

From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., downtown visitors can see quality art — handcarved and painted decoys, vibrant paintings and photographs of wildlife — try out handmade duck calls and learn about local fishing adventures.

From 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., a retrievers demonstration will be held at Festival Park.

Inside the Turnage Theatre, an exhibit of renowned watercolorist Pat Holscher is on display, as well as the paintings submitted for the annual N.C. Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition, including the winner, which will be featured on the 2018-19 North Carolina duck stamp.

The art doesn’t stop there. From 1 p.m. until 3 p.m., children are invited to make crafts at the Turnage Theatre, or they might have already signed up for the annual decoy-painting workshops at the North Carolina Estuarium at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Later, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., Art Walk takes over downtown. For Art Walk, galleries open their doors with an invitation to come in, take a look at new art exhibits, have some refreshments and talk to local artists. It’s a casual affair, self-guided and unrushed.

While the Wildlife Arts Festival has always featured art, this year, the art is taking center stage with the influence of Arts of the Pamlico. One of the organization’s prime motivators is making art accessible to everyone, exhibiting art that appeals to a broad range of people. This weekend, it’s lovers of nature and wildlife.

Nature and wildlife should always be celebrated, as should Arts of the Pamlico for bringing the festival back to Washington. More visitors mean more tourism dollars spent in shops and restaurants. More tourism dollars spent in shops in restaurants allow small businesses to thrive. Successful small businesses encourage others to open. More small businesses mean an even more vibrant downtown.

Supporting the festival and similar events in both big and small ways build a better Washington. Take a stroll downtown today and be a part of the process.