Thursday, February 7, 2013
This year’s S.C. Junior Duck Stamp Contest brought in hundreds of entrees submitted by students from around the state, The art competition is a partnership between the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State Department of Natural Resources and S.C. Ducks Unlimited (which sponsored the contest).
Emily Knudson, 14, of Mount Pleasant took top honors with a superb mixed media portrait of a redhead duck. Hanna Massar, also 14 years old and of Mount Pleasant, took first runner up with an incredible close-up of a common merganser. Both artists attend Thomas Cario Middle School and receive instruction from art teacher Stefani Timmerman.
Second runner up was Elizabeth Chandler, 15, of Sumter; third runner up was Ashley Bazzle, 17, of Summerville and Cane Bay High School; fourth Runner Up was Erin Signori, 13, of Mount Pleasant and - again - Thomas Cario Middle School.
Judges were College of Charleston professor and Ducks Unlimited East Cooper Chairman Mark Hartley, local artist Christina Hewson, DNR’s Dean Harrigal and Don Winslow and Post and Courier/Tidelines reporter Matt Winter. The top entries will be displayed at the Charleston County Public Library on Calhoun Street during this year’s SEWE, Feb. 15-17.
Those winners too will be honored at the annual East Cooper Ducks Unlimited Oyster Roast on Friday, Feb. 15 at the Charleston Visitor Center bus shed from 6 to 11 p.m.
East Cooper Ducks Unlimited (DU) for the 16th year in a row will host the DU/SEWE Oyster Roast and Lowcountry Cookout. East Cooper DU has been a Top One Percent Net Fundraising Chapter since 2003, and this is the most attended DU event of the year in North America. Tickets are on sale now at the early bird rate of $60 each at www.ducks.org/south-carolina, at any Charleston area Visitor Center, or at the DU ticket hotline 843-513-7387. Your ticket includes the legendary all-you-can-eat oyster roast and Lowcountry cookout featuring all types of Southern delicacies, along with an open bar, your 2013 DU membership, and the opportunity to participate in the finest auctions and raffles of any DU event in the country.
In 2012, the SEWE and DU teamed up to ensure South Carolina’s continued participation in the Junior Federal Duck Stamp Program, which introduces more than 700,000 students in the Palmetto State to wildlife art and wetlands conservation.
The East Cooper chapter has been the number one chapter in South Carolina since 2006 and a member of the President’s Top 100 from the beginning. Area Chairmen Dr. Mark Hartley has led the chapter for more than 10 years and attributes much of the committee’s success to its devoted volunteers and partnership with the SEWE.
“From fundraising to education, our partnership with the SEWE has had a profound impact on wetlands conservation and the youth that will be the future of both organizations,” Hartley said.
As one of the judges of this duck stamp art competition, Hartley said they had no way of knowing who the artists were or anything about them.
The judges chose finalists in each age division and those finalists were placed into a final pool. The best of the best were then picked from that bunch.
Mount Pleasant art teacher Stefani Timmerman had three of her advance placement middle school art students placed in the top five.
All of her student winners were eighth grade students competing against high school students from all over the state, Hartley explained.
“She really has motivated those kids. Hers is such a great program at Cario Middle School, that’s for sure,” he said. “We were really proud of them.”
Hartley said that two years ago the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was going to have to discontinue the art competition due to funding. By partnering with SEWE and ECDU the program was saved.
The state Ducks Unlimited board donated $10,000 to keep the contest running. SEWE administers the contest and DU funds it. Last year there were 400 entries and this year almost 500 entries. Hartley said.
New this year was an incentive to teachers to get their students involved. Winning teachers earned a cash prize to fund their classroom art activities. Winning students also win cash prizes and a chance to go to the national competition with their piece.
Stefani Timmerman has been teaching for more than 20 years and has seen tremendous talent come through her classroom.
She noticed through the years that some students were requesting more art instruction and wanted to provide more advanced training for them. She created the advanced art class at Cario Middle School where students must apply to be accepted and attend the class year round.
That type of instruction paid off for her students. Seventeen of them placed in the Duck Stamp competition and three were named to the top five. Seven out of nine of the seventeen swept the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place spots for the Level Three 12-14 year old division in the same competition.
Student Emily Knudson took top honors, and students Hannah Masser and Erin Signori placed at the top of the list as well.
Timmerman takes only 12 to 18 students per grade level in advanced art each year. They must submit a portfolio and go through a selective application process to be admitted. Each student is required to compete in the selected competitions, at least 8-10 per year.
Timmerman admitted that her students in addition to their academic work load and advanced art classroom work, also excel in other extra curricular activities. Her students also have a history of success.
Consistently her students have taken top honors at the Coastal Carolina Fair Charleston Artist Guild Competition. This year nine entered and eight placed. Emma Smith won Best in Show K-12 for two years in a row in this show. Cario entered many other works in the Decorative Painters Guild Show and the Creative Arts Show at the fair. Overall, fifty top honors were earned by Cario Advanced and quarterly art students at the fair for 2012. For the last five years her students have placed in the Festival of Lights through the Charleston County Parks and Recreation.
SCDNR hosts a Reel Art Competition and this year her students took eight of the 16 award spots in 2012. Five students and eight of their works were accepted at the 2013 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards at Lander University. Emma Lang received a state silver key, second highest honor.
Timmerman said her advanced students show great discipline, determination and a focus on time management. “They have deadlines and work overtime to meet them,” she said. “And their craftsmanship and quality really shine through. I have been asked many times if I teach high school age students. The maturity level and focus in their work is evident.”
Caitlyn Brunson, a local illustrator and graphic designer is the student’s tutor and often volunteers her time after school to assist with getting students ready for competition with Timmerman.
“I helped mentor Caitlyn a bit through high school and college. I greatly appreciate the time she has spent helping with molding these young artists,” said Timmerman.
Her focus revolves greatly around science and biology. She incorporates the South Carolina environment, wildlige, habitat, ocean and salt marsh into her assignments to not only the advanced students but also her quarterly students who also strive for excellence during their time in class.
Other accolades go to Conor Craddock for being selected to help St. Peter’s Catholic Church design the wrap for their mobile art bus. The bus goes to Title I schools to help infuse art into the community and student learning programs.
“All of my students work so hard I try to find ways to celebrate them,” said Timmerman.
The deadline for students to apply for the Advanced Art classes is Feb. 19. Get more information at http://carioarts.weebly.com/index.html.