JULY 8, 2004 - Posted at 11:53 a.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR - Larry Grisham's love of wildlife art has helped raise millions of dollars to purchase and improve wetlands habitat for waterfowl and other visiting wildlife to Arkansas.
He's one of three Arkansans who are Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees for 2004. Grisham, a Jonesboro banker, has handled the duck stamp artwork for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission through Grisham's Wildlife Art since 1982. Sales of prints created from duck stamp artwork have made the Arkansas program the most successful in the country, thanks to top-notch artists.
"I've just had a life-long love of hunting," Grisham said. "I go duck hunting most every day during the season. My interest in wildlife art developed when I met and became friends with Maynard Reece."
Reece is a top wildlife artist who lives in Iowa.
Arkansas leads the nation in duck stamp prints with about 1,600 collectors who buy prints each year. Without excellent artists, programs in some states have struggled or have been abandoned.
"We totally design the stamps for Arkansas Game & Fish Commission's specifications," Grisham said. "We select the artist each year, work with him or her on the art, then we produce the stamps and the prints. We give the duck stamps to the Game & Fish Commission at no cost."
The stamps are required of every waterfowl hunter 16 and older.
The prints are a niche project, a specialty that can be demanding and highly technical. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist.