Page 111 - South Mississippi Living - March, 2023
P. 111

              “Since 2014, we have received more than 2,600 pieces
of art from all across Mississippi,” reports Emily-Jo Wiggins, the visitor education center director for the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery, which coordinates the art contest for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “This is a way for our young people who are so talented in their artistic abilities to express themselves in the outdoors in their own unique way.”
Sponsored by the Foundation for Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the contest is free and open to any students from the ages of 5 years old to 19 enrolled in
any Mississippi school. Home-schooled children living in Mississippi can also participate. To keep things fair so late teens don’t compete against first-graders, the contest divides the entrants into four age categories: 5-7 years old, 8-11, 12- 15 and 16-19 years old. In 2022, the contest received more than 500 entries.
“This is a way for Mississippi children to go into the outdoors and express themselves through art,” Wiggins comments. “We have so much talent in Mississippi and we are happy to provide our young people with the opportunity to show what they can do. It’s amazing to see how each of the children express themselves in different ways.”
Entrants can submit original artworks depicting any living fish or wildlife species native to the Magnolia State or one that traditionally migrates through Mississippi such as waterfowl and other birds. Each student can only submit one entry, but all can express their art talents in any types of media, such as paintings, drawings, sculptures and other ways.
“We want to see each youth’s own original creation,” Wiggins emphasizes. “I’m amazed at how well these children do with their artworks, seeing wildlife through
their eyes and turning that creativity into art. In the past, we have received all kinds of different art media, such as mosaics, charcoal drawing, wood-burning pieces, sculptures and much more. Photographs can be used as guides, but the contestants can’t use any kind of technological assistance
to do their artworks, such as computer design software. We want them to do their own works so we can see each youth’s own original creations.”
The winners in each age category will receive $100 gift cards from Bass Pro Shops. Second place will receive $50 cards with third place students getting $25 cards. Honorable mentions will receive certificates of achievement.
In addition, the state will publish the winners in Mississippi Outdoors, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks magazine. Winning pieces will also be displayed in the Visitor Education Center at the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery in Enid along with past winners.
A panel of expert judges including fish and wildlife biologists, artists and art professors will evaluate the pieces on various criteria such as originality and accuracy in depicting the species in its habitat. Each entry form must be signed off by a teacher or parent. All entries must be postmarked by May 10, 2023.
Send entries to North Mississippi Fish Hatchery Youth Art Contest, P.O. Box 100, Enid, MS 38927. Send larger packages to 457 County Road 36, Enid, MS 38927.
For entry forms and rules, see For more information call 662.563.8068.
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