THE STARK MUSEUM OF ART is bringing the great outdoors inside with Conservation Art: Federal Duck Stamps & Prints.
The exhibition opens July 13 and continues through January 4, 2020. This exhibition celebrates the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, popularly known as the Duck Stamp.
A set of stamps and prints, from the beginning in 1934-1935 through 2000-2001, is on view. In addition to viewing the stamps and prints, visitors can go on a virtual Duck Hunt and enjoy other activities.
Started in 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp program links hunting with conservation. Sales of stamps support wildlife habitat. Choosing artists to design the stamps added visual drama. Artists’ prints increased the impact of the program.
With this exhibition, the Stark Museum of Art traces the history of the Federal Duck Stamp. The United States government created the stamp to address a problem. In the 1930s, the numbers of ducks and geese had fallen to dangerously low levels.
Loss of habitat and over-hunting contributed to the decline. Hunters and conservationists sought remedies. To raise funds for waterfowl habitat, the government required hunters to buy a Migratory Bird stamp. The U.S. uses the revenue to purchase and maintain wildlife refuges.
Every year the government selects an artist to create the image and issues a new stamp. They depict ducks, geese, and swans. The beauty of the stamps has inspired collecting. It has also prompted the artists to make prints from their stamp art.
The exhibition begins with the 1934-35 Stamp and its accompanying print by Jay N. “Ding” Darling. Darling was a Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist, a hunter, and a conservationist.
Franklin Roosevelt appointed him as Chief of the Biological Survey. Darling drew two mallards flying onto the water for the first stamp, and then made an etching based on his design.
The exhibition includes etchings, lithographs, and photolithographs by fifty-two artists, including Frank W. Benson, Maynard Reece, and the Hautman brothers.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to view a digital exhibit of the 2018-19 Federal Junior Duck Stamp in Texas winners. The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design program began in 1993. Each state holds a contest.
A best of show for the state is selected. These works advance to the national contest. The digital exhibit features the top twelve Texas artists in Kindergarten through twelfth grades in the 2018-19 contest. It is presented in cooperation with the Federal Junior Duck Stamp in Texas program.
The exhibition includes a number of hands-on learning opportunities. The interactives include viewing recent years’ duck stamps up closely using magnifying tools, drawing and displaying a duck stamp, and playing the Nintendo Entertainment System pop culture classic Duck Hunt.
Adjacent to the main exhibition will be Waterfowl Art with the flourishing images of ducks and geese as seen in Steuben glass, Limoges plates, Boehm porcelain, and other forms.
A special event will be held Saturday Oct. 5 featuring renown wildlife artist Calvin Carter as well as other special guests.
Admission is free.
For more information call 409-886-2787 or visit starkculturalvenues.org.
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