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Lifestyle

July 13, 2014

Ducks in a row

Art by state finalists in youth contest on display at Custom House

The Custom House Maritime Museum has made way for ducklings — and ducks, swans and geese.

The 100 winning entries from the Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Program’s statewide contest are on display through Aug. 17 in the hallway of the Newburyport museum.

“The artwork is really amazing, and we see it year after year,” said Marion Larson, chief of information and education for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife. “There are some very talented young people out there, and it’s a great thing to see.”

MassWildlife received 446 entries from schools and art studios for this year’s contest, which closed in March. From there, the 9-by-12-inch drawings and paintings were narrowed down to 100 by a panel of five judges.

Three first-, second- and third-place entries and 16 honorable mentions are selected for each age group: kindergarten through third grade, fourth through sixth grades, seventh through ninth grades and 10th through 12th grades.

A “Best of Show” is then chosen from the 12 first-place winners and entered into the national Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest. This year’s Massachusetts winner, Xiaomei Chen from Westford Academy, placed among the top 25 in the national contest for her acrylic of a trumpeter swan with cygnets.

Ariana Twomey, who hung the exhibit as part of her summer internship at the Custom House, said visitors have been particularly impressed with the artwork in the K-3 category.

“People have been humbled and awed by the talent of such a young age group,” said Twomey, who will be a senior at Amherst College this fall. “And the talent and creativity doesn’t drop off. It’s a very impressive mosaic of Massachusetts’ top student artists.”

“It’s eye candy,” said Michael Mroz, executive director of the Custom House. “It opens your eyes to a level of dedication and talent.”

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