The Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce’s Easter Decoy & Art Festival is celebrated as a rite of spring on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Artwork, sculptures, jewelry, carvings and other crafts were showcased by exhibitors from Pennsylvania to Florida during the two-day festival over Easter weekend.
The People’s Choice Award for Best Sculptor went to longtime exhibitor Bill Veasey of Elkton, Maryland. Veasey was a major contributor to the field of contemporary decorative decoy sculpture as a sculptor, teacher and writer. He has published 14 books on sculpting and painting, was instrumental in the design of the Detail Master Burner, helped create the color range of sculptors Jo Sonjas, and has trained literally thousands of students, many of whom are become important contributors to Art.
The People’s Choice Award for Best Artist went to Kevin McBride, who began painting wildlife at an early age in his hometown of Emerson, New Jersey. McBride earned a fine arts degree from the University of Rhode Island and a degree in art education from Montclair State University. He moved to Chincoteague Island over 40 years ago and opened the Osprey Nest Art Gallery on Main Street, where he sells his originals and prints capturing the charm and uniqueness of the island of Chincoteague.
Best Chincoteague or Assateague Cinematography was awarded to Bob Schamerhorn of Richmond, Virginia. Schamerhorn’s fascination with nature dates back to his childhood. He studied art and design at Virginia Tech and held various creative positions throughout his adult life. Photography is Schamerhorn’s passion and his amazing wildlife photography allows him to share his appreciation of nature with others. Several of his photographs have won recognition and appeared in major publications. Find it on iPhotoBirds.
The Curtis Merritt Excellence Award is given to an exhibitor who demonstrates exemplary qualities as an artist or sculptor, chosen by a jury made up of his peers. The 2022 recipient is Bill Hickson, another legend on the show. Mr. Hickson was determined to come to this year’s show even though his health was declining. Sadly, he passed away on April 22, 2022, just 6 days after the show. Bill Hickson was 94 years old and a retired farmer from Cordova, Maryland. He started carving decorative wild birds about 50 years ago and has exhibited his carvings at exhibitions for over 40 years.