Burbank girl reinstated as duck stamp contest winner

By Travis Gulbrandson


One week after her title was revoked, an area 6-year-old was again named winner of the 2013 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Competition.

On April 19, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that a painting of a canvasback duck by Madison Grimm of Burbank had won the national contest, and would appear on the 2013-14 Federal Junior Duck Stamp.

The next week, it was announced Grimm had been disqualified because she copied her painting from a photograph.

Then, on Thursday, May 2, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restored Grimm’s win.

“The Service’s decision to reinstate Grimm’s work was made in recognition of the fact that it was judged the winner during a fair and open public contest,” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement. “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.”

As a result, Grimm’s painting will again be featured on a stamp and she will receive a $5,000 scholarship.

Brent Lawrence, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, spoke briefly to the Plain Talk regarding the issue.

However, he would not elaborate as to the reasoning behind Grimm’s initial disqualification and eventual reinstatement.

“(The statement is) our final word on it as far as that goes. … I wish I could get into more details, but it’s just one of those things,” Lawrence said.

At the time of the controversy, Grimm’s father, artist Adam Grimm was quoted as saying graphite transfer is a common technique.

The rulebook for the federal contest goes into some detail on the subject.

On page 17, rule three says, “Do not copy or trace a copyrighted photo. Copied or plagiarized paintings will be disqualified.”

Adam Grimm was quoted as saying the photo in question was not copyrighted.

The next rule on page 17 says, “If using a photo as reference, extensively change the ‘attitude’ of the duck for your creation. For example, if the duck’s head is upright, draw it facing down as if it is drinking water, or turn the angle of the duck’s head.”

The rule also encourages to young artists to change the angle of the duck’s body, and the color of its surroundings.

“The idea that each student artist is creating his or her own depiction of waterfowl and submitting that original creation as a Junior Duck Stamp Contest entry is an important aspect of this contest,” the rulebook says.


– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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