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Print

Madison Grimm, 6, works on drawing a hummingbird at her house in rural Burbank, S.D. Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Grimm, who was disqualified as the winner of a national duck stamp competition after her age sparked discussion about her artistic abilities has had her win restored. (AP Photo/Argus Leader, Emily Spartz)

Six-year-old artist’s win in national stamp contest restored

May 04, 2013 at 10:48 AM

The Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A 6-year-old South Dakota girl who was disqualified as the winner of a national duck stamp competition after her age sparked discussion about her artistic abilities has had her win restored.

Madison Grimm, of rural Burbank, learned April 19 that her oil painting had won the 2013 Federal Junior Duck Stamp contest. Her painting was to be featured on the $5 stamp that supports environmental education, and she was to receive a $5,000 scholarship. She learned a week later that she had been disqualified because she had copied her painting from a photograph.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a statement Thursday saying Grimm had been reinstated as the winner after further analysis of the contest rules.

"Following the contest, concerns were raised about the authenticity of the work," the statement said. "The service disqualified the artwork last week. Since that time, the service has continued to evaluate its decision and has decided to reinstate the original winner."



This is Madison Grimm's winning entry, a painting of a canvasback.

Madison told the Argus Leader newspaper (http://argusne.ws/123fCCm ) that she was excited and surprised by how things worked out.

Her father, professional wildlife artist Adam Grimm, who had hired a Washington, D.C., lawyer to challenge his daughter's disqualification, said he received a telephone call from Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe informing him of the reinstatement.

"I knew from the day they called us they were not correct," Grimm said. "I really feel bad for everyone else, but I feel we were forced into that position to call them on it."

The agency had named Peter Coulter, 17, of Washington, Mo., the winner after Madison's disqualification. Coulter now returns to second place.

The turn of events capped a flurry of activity over contest rules and discussion about how someone so young was able to win an honor in a contest whose previous youngest winner was 15.

Madison used an unpublished photo of a duck that her father supplied as a reference for her painting. She also used a technique called a graphite transfer, in which an artist applies a pencil lead to a print of the photo to create an outline for a painting. Both are legal, and both are accepted and common among artists, said Robert Lesino, who was chief of the Federal Duck Stamp Program from 1993 until 2001 and defended Madison.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said in its statement that its decision to reinstate Madison as the winner "was made in recognition of the fact that her work was judged the winner during a fair and open public contest."

"The service respects the decision of the contest judges and apologizes for any distress this process may have caused the top-placing artists and their families, teachers and friends," the agency said.

Duck stamps produced by the Fish and Wildlife Service and are not valid for postage. They typically are bought by collectors and people who want to support wildlife habitat and education programs. They are a required purchase in some instances, such as for hunters over the age of 16 who want to hunt migratory waterfowl.

___

Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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