Ward World carving show coming to Ocean City

SALISBURY — Each year the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University, plays host to the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival, bringing talented artists from across the globe to Ocean City, allowing them to showcase their carving talent.

 

The Ward name is a tribute to Crisfield’s down neck decoy carvers Stephen and Lemuel T. “Lem” Ward. Over their 50 plus years of carving they transitioned from utilitarian hunting decoys to decorative waterfowl as especially in the 1950 plastic factory-made hunting decoys were mass produced and the demand for their miniature and life-sized birds became more popular. The first World Championship was in 1971.

 

This year’s event will be held at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on April 27-29. The wildfowl carvings are highly meticulous decorative works of art that can be used as functional hunting decoys. These spectacular sculptures, coveted by celebrities and avid collectors alike, mimic wildfowl species such as red tail hawks, bald eagles, saw whet owls, wood ducks and thousands of other species from around the world.

 

On display will be more than 1,400 wildfowl carvings by artists representing all levels of experience — from youth to world champions each competing for a share of nearly $65,000 in cash and prizes Since the first competition, more than four decades ago, the World Championship has awarded carvers with over $2.6 million in prize money. It is a great opportunity for anyone attending to learn about eclectic bird species through the carvers’ interpretation of nature. This year also welcomes the return of fish carving.

 

“You will have a chance to enjoy the beauty of many of the more than 600 bird species in the United States, in addition to species from around the globe,” said Lora Bottinelli, executive director of the Ward Museum. “For anyone who adores nature, enjoys birds and has an appreciation for fine art, the World Championship is the place to be to experience the best wildfowl art the world has to offer.”

 

Educational classes, seminars and demonstrations by master carvers gives visitors the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of wildfowl carving from those responsible helping the art evolve to the level it is at today. Activities for children are plentiful at the Kids Corner, where children can create soap carvings, carve feathers using power tools and receive instruction from a champion carver and decoy painter.

 

The Ward Museum, will recognize artists Oliver “Tuts” Lawson of Crisfield, David Turner of Onley, and Robert Kerr of Ontario with its 2018 Living Legend Award. The presentation will take place Friday, April 27 at 5 p.m., at the Convention Center following the Ward World Championships. Following the award presentation, a dinner will be held at the Grand Hotel from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets for the dinner can be purchased on the Ward Museum’s website. The award highlights those who have been long-time advocates for wildfowl art and the Ward Museum. Winners are generous in spirit and commitment to teaching others and passing on their knowledge, skills and talents. They have created an impact on the field of wildfowl art and/or the Ward World Championship competition.

 

Saturday’s live auction provides a chance to bid on original works of art by distinguished artists from around the world in the conventions centers new Performing Arts Center. A silent auction for the two winning carvings from the Champagne Waterfowl and Champagne Waterfowl Champion divisions is also scheduled.

 

Visitors of the event have the opportunity to shop from a wide variety of vendors to purchase paintings, photography, carvings, bronze sculptures, jewelry, folk art, home decorating items, and carving supplies. Buyers may purchase carvings directly from the artists at the Carvers’ Art Shop.

 

Show hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, April 27, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m, Saturday. The awards ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. On Sunday, April 29, show hours are 10 a.m.to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. For more information, call 410-742-4988, ext. 120, or visit the Ward Museum website at www.wardmuseum.org.

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