Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art Executive Director Lora Bottinelli says the annual event, held attracts some of the best carvers out there.
“It is the worldwide gathering of wildfowl artists that showcases the best of the art form,” Bottinelli said. “It provides the opportunity of carvers of all divisions to show their work. Many have progressed through out the years into different divisions.”
The world championship is an international event in which carvers, collectors, and visitors convene at the end of each April in Ocean City. From highly decorative works of art to functional hunting decoys, about 1,200 different wildfowl carvings representing more than 150 species from around the world can be viewed.
The divisions range from youth to world champions. Competitors go up against their peers for the chance to win a portion of nearly $60,000 in prize money, as well as other recognition including ribbons, medallions, plaques and trophies.
During this year’s event, there will be more than 40 different divisions in which an artist can compete–decorative life-size and miniature wildfowl, floating waterfowl, interpretive, gunning decoys, contemporary antiques, sculpture, and for the this years competition, fish carving.
“This is a premiere event for the community of artists!” Bottinelli said. “The Ocean City Convention Center is packed with incredible artwork and exhibitors. There will be conferences and members of the community can also participate, compete and enroll in seminars.”
This year, Rich Smoker from Marion Station, Md., is one of four recipients of the Living Legends Award.
Smoker has been a volunteer at the Ocean City show, an exhibitor at the fall expo, a judge at the world championship, among many other roles with the Ward Museum since he started working with them in 1983.
Smoker is also on the Hall of Fame at the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Md. and a recipient of Maryland Traditions 2011 ALTA Award. Smoker says he is looking forward to receiving his award in April.
“It’s really great to be honored and to be in a pool of people like these gentleman that are going to be honored at the same time… it’s a real honor,” Smoker said.
The award recognizes individuals who have been long-time advocates for wildfowl art and the Ward Museum; are generous in spirit and commitment to teaching others and passing on their knowledge, skills and talents; and have created an impact on the field of wildfowl art and/or the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition.
The award recipients will be celebrated Friday, April 22 at a banquet dinner overlooking the Ocean City Inlet at Harrison’s Harbor Watch Restaurant.
To learn more about this event, follow this link.