‘Ding’ Darling Releases Schedule of Activities at Art in the Wild

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Art in the Wild pays homage to “Ding” Darling’s art legacy, beginning with the creation of the Federal Duck Stamp Program in 1934. The 2023-2024 duck stamp artist, Joe Hautman, won with this portrait of tundra swans. He will present and sign stamps at the refuge Oct. 21.

In celebration of National Wildlife Refuge Week and Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling’s 146th birthday, the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island introduces the inaugural, all-free Art in the Wild weekend Oct. 21-22, originally scheduled for October 2022 but canceled due to Hurricane Ian.

Two days of free art activities honor 2023-2024 Duck Stamp artists and the legacy of refuge namesake Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, a Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist, designer of the original duck stamp, and artist-conservationist of the early 20th century. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) co-hosts the event with support from the Lee County Tourist Development Council and Florida Arts & Culture.

The famous Hautman brothers, multiple Federal Duck Stamp Contest winners, headline the weekend. A special exhibition of their nature art will be on display in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center auditorium Oct. 12-29.

Joe Hautman won the 2023-2024 contest and will be signing his winning stamp depicting three tundra swans. Brothers Jim and Bob also will appear, along with 2023-2024 Junior Duck Stamp (JDS) winner Mila Linyue Tong from Virginia and Florida’s JDS best-of-show placer Jenny Liu from Port Orange.

Other noted artists will demonstrate their skills and conduct hands-on workshops and other art activities. Sunday brings Paint Out to Wildlife Drive and Bailey Tract, where more than 20 artists will be competing for the People’s Choice Award visitors can vote on through Oct. 30. Admission to Wildlife Drive is free both days 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See below for a schedule of activities over the weekend and visit dingartinthewild.com for more details.

DDWS seeks sponsors for this year’s Art in the Wild. For information, contact April Boehnen at aprilb@dingdarlingsociety.org. Current sponsors include Roseate Spoonbill: Wayne & Linda Boyd; Great Egret: Gretchen Banks, Friend of “Ding” Darling; Great Blue Heron: Margie Furniss; Reddish Egret: Bob & Nancy Adams, Bella Signs & Designs, Tim & Louise Huyck, LCEC, Tom Mulligan & Deborah Kennedy, WooBamboo; Snowy Egret: Palm Printing, Maureen & Gary Saage, She Sells Sea Shells, Brian & Susan White.


All-free activities at the Refuge, including free entrance to the Wildlife Drive both days 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

OCTOBER 12-29: Hautman Art Exhibition & Federal (including Junior) Duck Stamp Traveling Displays, Visitor & Education Center Auditorium

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

• 9:15 a.m. The Roost reveal ribbon-cutting with SanCap Chamber

• 9:30 a.m. Sing “Happy Birthday” to “Ding” re-enactor with cookies and refreshments

• 10 a.m. Federal Duck Stamp presentations current multiple winner Joe Hautman and brothers Jim and Bob

• 11 a.m. Other contest-winning art presentations awards: Federal Junior Duck Stamp Winner Mila Linyue Tong, Florida Junior Duck Stamp Winner Jenny Liu and other Florida winners, Elementary School Conservation Cartoon Contest, Amateur Photo Contest, Visitor & Education Center Auditorium

• 12 noon Stamp signings by Joe Hautman and Mila Linyue Tong, outside the Refuge Nature Store

• 12-3 p.m. ON-GOING ART STATIONS outdoors on balcony/walkway (no signup required)
Shell Painting with Ranger Yvette
Recycled Jewelry with Ranger Jess
Decorate Your Own Tea Towel with Southwest Florida Fine Craft Guild
Community Mural with Artist-in-Residence Jacqui Roch

• 12-4 p.m. ART DEMONSTRATIONS, Visitor & Education Center
Jim Sprankle, Bird Sculptor
Tim Smith, Sanibel Pottery
Andrew Corke, Recycled Bike-Tire Art
Lacy McClary, Painter
Alejandra “Alex” Bustamante, Painter/Muralist
Jaye Boswell, Pen-and-Ink
Stan Bunick, Fish-Fly Tying
Cabe Rieck, Origami
Deborah Kramer, Stained Glass
Christine Keyworth, Polymer Clay
Gus Mezetta, Wood Blocks Prints

• 1-2:30 p.m. WORKSHOPS
(All workshops will be limited to 20: 10 spots available on Eventbrite prior — starting October 1 – and 10 more guests who sign up that day on a first-come basis. Check in at program tent at base of Visitor & Education Center ramp by 12:45 p.m. to ensure your spot, please.)
Paint a Wine Glass with Deborah Kennedy, Auditorium B
Nature Journaling & Hike with Robin Kirk, meet at flagpole
Paint on Queen Palm Pods with Rachel Pierce, Beneath Center
Paint a Duck with former Florida Junior Duck Stamp winner John Brennan, Auditorium A

• 12:30-1:30 p.m. Live Music by TBA
• 2-2:30 p.m. Nature Puppet Show by Lee County School District Students

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 7-3 p.m.
• 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. Paint Out: Plein-air artists on Wildlife Drive (Artists check-in at The Roost 7-8 a.m.)
• 8:30 a.m. Meet-and-Greet Donuts with “Ding” Re-enactor at The Roost
• 9-10 a.m. Open-air Yoga at The Roost with Nicole Michaelson (bring your own mat/towel), limited to 20 participants. Register on Eventbrite starting October 1.
• 10:30-11:30 a.m. Live Music at The Roost by TBA
• 12 noon-12:30 p.m. “Ding” Re-enactor Presentation at The Roost
• 1:30-2:30 p.m. Live Music at The Roost by Brylcream
• 3 p.m. Paint Out Display in Visitor & Education Center – Vote for your favorite creation at the Front Desk through October 30.

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 dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Miller Gresham at 239-292-0566 or director@dingdarlingsociety.org.

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