First Place: 2022-2023 Federal Duck Stamp Contest
The “winningest” Federal Duck Stamp artist is headed to “Ding” Darling this October!
James Hautman has been awarded “First Place” in the Federal Duck Stamp contest an astounding six times. Considering that more than 100 artists typically compete in the contest each year — and what’s more, that winners are not allowed to compete again for three years after their win — Hautman’s accomplishment has made him a hallowed name in wildlife art circles. He and his two brothers, Joseph and Robert — also multiple duck stamp contest winners — even made the script for the 1996 hit comedic movie Fargo.
Each year, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge hosts the winning duck stamp artist in October to celebrate the birthday of the refuge’s namesake, the very first duck stamp artist in 1935. Artist-cartoonist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, in fact, is largely responsible for the Federal Duck Stamp Program, which has purchased six million acres of now-protected wetlands since its inception.
Hautman will be featured this year for the inaugural Art in the Wild Day on Saturday, October 29. In addition to a 10 a.m. presentation that day, followed by a duck stamp signing, Hautman will debut an exhibition of his work in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center Auditorium. The exhibition will remain in the auditorium for free daily viewing through November 13, 2022.
“It’s always such an honor and pleasure to visit with longtime friends and spend time at ‘Ding,’” said Hautman, who lives in Chaska, Minnesota. “It’s one of my favorite parts about winning the contest. I’m doubly honored this year to be exhibiting my work at the first-ever Art in the Wild event.”
“Jim Hautman is the rock star of the federal duck stamp world,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland. “He and his brothers are the true ‘duck dynasty.’ We are beyond excited to celebrate his big win and see his art hanging in the auditorium to share with all of our visitors. It really will be the crowning attraction of the day.”
Art in the Wild Day will take place 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition to Hautman, state and federal Junior Duck Stamp artists will also be presenting, plus visitors can expect hands-on art activities, plein-art demonstrations, the announcement of the 2022 “Ding” Darling Amateur Photo Contest winners, treats to celebrate DDWS’ 40th anniversary, and other surprises. Admission to Wildlife Drive will be free all day.
To learn more about Art in the Wild’s schedule of events as it develops, visit dingartinthewild.com.