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New State Capitol Exhibit on Display
“Wildlife 101,” the Art of Duane Hada
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) -- At the dawn of the Twentieth Century, Arkansas lacked any state agency overseeing wildlife populations and their preservation. The era was one of hunting with little to no regulation: subsistence, market and “sport” hunting plus habitat encroachment made game more scarce with each passing year.
Act 124 of the 1915 Legislative Assembly marked Arkansas’s first real response to this great dwindle. It established the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, to be funded by hunting license fees and fines. Since then,the Commission has worked to ensure the protection, conservation and preservation of wildlife in Arkansas through habitat management, stocking, hunting and fishing regulations, education and a host of other programs.
This spring, the Capitol salutes the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s century—and more—of good work with “Wildlife 101,” an exhibit featuring the work of Arkansas artist Duane Hada. Seventeen vivid canvases depict the state’s signature wild residents in their home settings: the forests, fields and waters of the Natural State. Each painting is paired with artist Hada’s comments drawn from memories of growing up in rural Arkansas, as well from his adult experiences hunting, fishing and creating his striking compositions. Several of the exhibited paintings have been loaned by private collectors, giving Capitol visitors a rare opportunity to view them.
With the Buffalo River a brisk walk from his boyhood home, Duane Hada grew up close to the scenes and creatures that would feature in his artwork.He received his BSE in Art from the University of Central Arkansas. He has taught high school and art curriculum for Arkansas State University in Mountain Home (Baxter County) and conducts workshops at his White River School of Fine Art.
Duane Hada has won numerous awards, including Best of Show for the Mid-Southern Watercolorists. His work has been showcased in Arkansas’s 1987 Trout Stamp design, conservation license plate and wildlife educational posters. He has, moreover, been recognized for more than his art: a recipient of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's "Master Angler Award," Duane is the first and only person to date to catch all qualifying fish on fly tackle. He is a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor and has taught fly tying and fly fishing through several college and university courses and with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Duane’s work can be viewed at his Rivertown Gallery in Mountain Home, Arkansas, year-around; the Capitol’s selection will remain on display in its first-floor galleries through Mid-May.