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Ohio College Student Makes History as Youngest Person Ever to Win Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest

History was rewritten when Adam Grimm, a 21-year-old college student took top honors in the 1999 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Grimm, a student at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio, is the youngest artist ever to win the contest. He is also the first artist ever to have placed in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest, which the Service sponsors each year in schools nationwide.

Grimmís entry of a single mottled duck will grace the 2000-2001 federal duck stamp, which goes on sale

July 1, 2000. The oil image shows a back view of the duck drenched in sunlight, which is stretching after a preening session.

Grimm said he often spends time in the marsh observing ducks and other waterfowl. "I have always been impressed by their movements, and Iíve always been interested in strong lighting."

When Jamie Clark, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service called Adam via telephone from the floor of the Main Auditorium, he graciously dedicated his win to his recently deceased grandfather, who had given him much guidance over the years. It was a touching moment for all in the audience, and showed the mettle of this champion artist.

Grimmís win at age 21 eclipses Jim Hautmanís win at age 25 in 1988. Jim went on to win the 1994 and 1998 contests. Note that the actual stamp issuance date is one year later than the contest date.

A moving highlight of this yearís contest was the standing ovation received by Jim Hautman when the baton of the winner was passed to Grimm. Of the many years I have attended the contest, I have never witnessed another such event honoring an artist and his work. It must have been gratifying for the laid-back Hautman to see the entire auditorium rise and offer the very lengthy ovation. It was definitely one of those times that prompts chills to run down your spine.

One of the five judges this year was Burton Sellers, past president of the APS, and currently Senior Vice President of the International Federation of Philately. He is also past president of the American Philatelic Congress, and Postal History Foundation. Sellers is an accredited International and American Philatelic judge, and writes extensively for the philatelic press. He has been elected to the Philatelic Writers Hall of Fame, and honored by the British Philatelic Foundation as a signer of the Distinguished Roll of Philatelists, and is a Fellow of both the Royal Philatelic Societies of London and Canada to name a few. Burton is a lifelong collector of stamps, including duck stamps.

Burtonís remarks to the audience were short and clear, stating that as a stamp collector and duck stamp collector, he now appreciates the stamps and whatís behind them more than ever after serving as a judge.

Other judges included Matt Connally, former Executive VP of Ducks Unlimited, Betty Lou Fegely, Chairwoman of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Sara Gilbert, Editor of U.S. Art magazine, and Wayne Trimm, an ornithologist and Vice President of the Society of Animal Artists and editor of their magazine.

Out of a possible 25 final round points, Grimmís entry scored 20 points, as did Terry Doughtyís black scoters. A 20-point score is relatively low compared to other yearís winners. After a tie breaking vote, Grimmís edged out Doughtyís by a vote of 22 to 20. Grimmís score of 20 reflects the tough grading standards of this judging panel.

There was a three-way tie for third place, ultimately won by Paco Young, of Bozeman, Montana. The final group of pictures were all excellent, and the voting so close any wavering on the judges voting could have changed the winner.

A possible factor in the low scores of paintings could have been the difficulty of acquiring models for these somewhat obscure and often termed "ugly ducks." Only 243 entries were submitted, and the black scoter, this yearís loser, will be the sole species eligible for the 2001 contest.

Seven prior federal winners had entries in the contest, Art Anderson, Neal Anderson, Wil Goebel, Joe Hautman, Ron Jenkins, Bruce Miller, and Dan Smith. Of this group, N. Anderson, Goebel, Hautman, and Miller advanced beyond the first round of voting.

The mottled duck is a non-migrant resident of the Gulf Coast of Mexico north of Tampico, and Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina. It frequents lakes, marshes and ponds of fresh to brackish water. Primary foods include small seeds, aquatic vegetation and some invertebrates. The mottled duck is a close relative of both the mallard and the black duck, and also embraces the bird once known as the Florida duck.

Eligible species for the 2000 contest, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 6-8, will be the green-winged teal, black duck, northern pintail, ruddy duck, and American wigeon. By the year 2002, all North American waterfowl species will have appeared on the duck stamp at least once.

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