Acclaimed Artists To Headline ‘Ding’ Art in the Wild Day

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

James Hautman will speak, sign stamps, and exhibit his work for Art in the Wild on Oct. 29.

James Hautman, Madison Grimm, Jim Sprankle, Tim Smith, Jaye Boswell, Jacqui Roch: Just a few of the headliner artists who will be part of the inaugural Art in the Wild event at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island Saturday, October 29.

Hautman is a six-time Federal Duck Stamp winner. Grimm, age 15, has won the Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest three times. Sprankle is Sanibel Island’s own unofficial artist laureate – a wildlife sculptor of renown. Smith operates Sanibel Pottery and has taught clay sculpting for decades at Cypress Lake High School’s Center for the Arts. Boswell, “mother of the Junior Duck Stamp Program,” started the contest in 1989 as an art teacher at Sanibel’s elementary school. Roch is the 2022-2023 Refuge Artist in Residence.

In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week, “Ding” Darling’s 145th birthday, and the 40th anniversary of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, DDWS, the refuge, Tarpon Bay Explorers, and community sponsors host Art in the Wild, along with an entire day’s worth of nature art activities.

Highlights of the day include a presentation, exhibition, and stamp-signing by Hautman; hands-on chalk pastels with Roch; pottery-throwing workshops with Smith; pen-and-ink drawing with Boswell, demonstrations by Sprankle and other artists, including plein-air along Wildlife Drive; nature photography, shell-crafting, nature-sketching, award presentations, and a celebration of DDWS’ 40th anniversary. Admission to Wildlife Drive is free from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“Our inaugural Art in the Wild event honors the 40th anniversary of our wonderful friends group, which falls on Oct. 6,” said Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland. “This will become an annual fall tradition to celebrate “Ding” Darling’s art legacy and role in creating the Federal Duck Stamp Program, which has continued for nearly 90 years and preserved six million acres of sensitive wetlands and wildlife habitat.”

The following sponsors help make Art in the Wild possible:
Great Blue Heron Level: Sanibel Home Furnishings
Reddish Egret Level: Sanibel Moorings
Snowy Egret Level: Island Inn, Jensen’s Marina and Cottages, Kona Kai Motel /Sunshine Island Inn, Mitchell’s SandCastles and Forty/Fifteen Resorts, Maureen & Gary Saage, Sanibel-Captiva Beach Resorts, Brian & Susan White.

To find out more about the schedule of events, visit To become an Art in the Wild sponsor, contact April Boehnen at or 239-472-1100 ext. 256.

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, DDWS works to support J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s mission of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection, research, and public education through charitable donations and Refuge Nature Shop profits. To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit or contact Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4 or

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