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Fair to Feature Art, Food, Fishing and Fun at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
ATHENS—When the 12th annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Expo comes to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center July 17, there will be more to do than just look at 2010’s best student-rendered artwork of fishes.
In keeping with the “Art’s Better Outside” theme of the event, visitors can dine on fair-type food, fish in the stocked casting pond, watch artists demonstrate their skills, shop for a piece of art to hang over the sofa or have their picture taken with Smokey Bear.
But that’s not all. Staff from the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center will be showing off birds of prey such as a barn owl, red-tailed hawk, screech owl and more. The U.S. Forest Service’s Amigos del Bosque will cheerfully drape a snake around your neck—or not. It’s your choice.
Choices are what Art’s Better Outside is all about, and visitors will have many to make. Which of the 111 pieces of student artwork on display will they choose as the People’s Choice Award?
Should they watch the diver feed the fish at the 11 o’clock dive show, or wait for the 2:00 p.m. show?
Would a funnel cake or a snowcone taste better after a barbecued turkey leg? Would they like jalapeños on those nachos?
Would they rather watch potter Barbara Hennessey throw a pot or Texas State Artist Sam Caldwell work with students to create a picture? And who can resist finding out what metal sculpturist Terry Jones is going to make from that pile of old junk?
Art is the thread that ties all the exhibits together, and not just any art: fish art. More precisely, art that depicts fishes. And every piece of art on display was a winner at the state level in the annual Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest.
TFFC is headquarters for the Texas division of the contest and is hosting this year’s national expo and competition where Best of Show and Art of Conservation Stamp Award winners will be announced. Final voting for the People’s Choice Award will take place on July 17, completing on-line balloting. Visitors can choose their favorite and help pick the winner.
Art’s Better Outside will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. July 17. A schedule of the day’s events can be found at http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishart. The event is free with paid admission to TFFC. For more information and directions, visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/tffc.
Sponsoring Artist Sherwanda Irvin, nature photographer, will display a selection of her works under the names “Art by Sherwanda” and “CreativeCross.”
At the time of writing, the following artists and exhibitors were scheduled to attend: Sam Caldwell, Texas State Artist—art project with student artists, watercolors and prints; Dr. Susan Tomlinson, Director, Natural History and Humanities Program, Texas Tech University—canoe paddle carving and nature journaling; United States Forest Service, Eastern Region—Smokey Bear and Amigos del Bosque reptile display; Terry Jones—metal sculpture; Sandy McFarland and Brenda Hennessey—pottery making and glass art; Blackland Prairie Raptor Center—birds of prey.
Also, Henderson County Art Club—display of members’ works; Jamie Williams—Meaningful Memories Photography; Debbie Wade—Lady Juliana fly-tying; Society for Creative Anachronism—calligraphy and illumination, weaving, embroidery, jewelry, metalwork, costuming, fencing demonstrations; Rose Path Weaving—loom demonstrations; Jennifer Kemp—outdoor photography and jewelry; Emilie Douglas—sculpture; Amy Branham—photography; and Johnathan Strange—Honors Academy of Palestine.
Wildlife Forever’s 12th annual State-Fish Art Contest was made possible by support from the North American Fishing Club; Rapala; Blick Art Materials; The Art Institutes International, Minnesota; the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region; and the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
Texas sponsors include the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, which funds cash prizes for Texas winners and travel expenses for first-place winners and their families to attend the national event; and Strike King Lures, which provides a fishing lure to each Texas entrant.
Wildlife Forever is a conservation organization whose mission is to conserve America’s wildlife heritage through conservation education, preservation of habitat and management of fish and wildlife. Learn more at http://www.wildlifeforever.org/.
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