Winners named in fish art contest

Wildlife Forever has announced the winners of the 2012 State-Fish Art Contest.

A panel of fish artists and honorary judges selected 142 winners from a field of thousands to be "the best of the best" in their state and grade category and for the international entries in each grade category.

“Wildlife Forever is pleased to honor the talented young artists, educators and parents who make the State-Fish Art Contest such a successful program,” said Douglas H. Grann, president and CEO of Wildlife Forever. "Together, we are using art to empower a new generation of conservationists. By sharing their fish art with family, friends and the general public, our young people are becoming ambassadors for good stewardship of our aquatic resources."

Arkansas winners included:

Category            Name                                 Hometown     School

Grades: K- 3       Madison Mourot            Morrilton       Morrilton Elementary School

Grades: 7-9         Taylor Chrissonberry     Cabot             Cabot Junior High South

Grades: 10-12     Grace Rutter                     Little Rock     LR Christian Academy

All winning entries can be seen at

Each state’s winner will have the opportunity to join other young artists from across the country at the 14th Annual State-Fish Art EXPO scheduled Friday, June 15, and Saturday, June 16, at the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in Little Rock. All winning artwork will be on display and an awards ceremony at the Clinton Presidential Center will recognize the winners before the crowd. Each winning artist attending the EXPO will receive great prizes, art supplies, goodie bags and fishing supplies from Rapala.

The top 12 national awards will be announced at the State-Fish Art EXPO honoring the top three pieces of artwork in each grade category selected from the state and international winners.

An overall Best of Show winner will be announced to receive the "Seth Thomas Spradlin Best of Show Award" given in honor of the 2008 winner who lost his life in an Alaska bush plane accident in August 2010.

The People’s Choice Award will be determined by a worldwide public online vote through links on the State-Fish Art website  and on the Contest Fan page: Online voting is ongoing and concludes on Sunday, June 10, with additional votes collected in person at the State-Fish Art EXPO. More than 71,000 votes were cast in the 2011 contest.

One outstanding piece of artwork will win the Art of Conservation stamp award and be reproduced as the 2012 State-Fish Art Conservation Stamp.

Proceeds from the stamp will be used to fund the contest and children’s outdoor education.

The Smile Award will be given to a piece of art, selected from all the entries, that just makes people smile.

Brand new this year is the inclusion of an aquatic invasive species in the Silent Invader category. The annual winner will be the year’s Invader Crusader.

For the first time, the essays accompanying each piece of art will be judged and one essay in each grade category will receive the new Fish Make You Smarter Award. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helped judged the competition and will be on hand to award the trophies for excellence.

Wildlife Forever’s annual State-Fish Art Contest was made possible by support from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, GenOn, North American Fishing Club, Rapala, Blick Art Materials, Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.