Local siblings finish first and second in Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest

Joe Capozza, age 13, won first place in the state with his watercolor painting of a blue winged teal.

Joe Capozza, age 13, won first place in the state with his watercolor painting of a blue winged teal.

— The walls of the Capozza house in Skaneateles are covered in framed artwork from the five children that live there. While the siblings, ranging in ages from 13 to 6, create their art for pleasure, they also recently won four awards in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest put on by the U.S. Fish & Game Service.

Thirteen-year-old Joe Capozza won first place in New York state for his watercolor of a blue winged teal; his 12-year-old sister Gabriella won second place in the state for her pencil drawing of a northern pintail; their 10-year-old brother Massimo and nine-year-old sister Isabella both won honorable mentions.

“Needless to say, opening the results in the mail was a very happy day at the Capozza house!” said mom Ann Capozza.

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest was a national competition where youth artwork, accompanied by a short conservation message, was judged on the basis of design, anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for reproduction on a stamp. Each state judged entries individually and then one winner was picked from the state finalists to go on to be the official Junior Duck Stamp design that will be printed and sold for $5 each.

Joe Capozza decided to enter the contest after a family friend saw Joe’s painting of a blue winged teal he did in seventh grade and suggested he enter. When his siblings heard he was entering the contest — and heard there were cash prizes offered — they all wanted to enter, said Ann Capozza.

None of the kids have ever had formal art lessons or really entered any previous art contests. Last year, Joe had a watercolor painting of a wood duck in the Skaneateles Middle School art show. His teacher was so impressed she asked permission to enter it in the National Scholastic Art Competition. Joe ended up being the only middle schooler in Skaneateles to receive an award.

Joe Capozza did not win the final judging, announced in June, to get his artwork on the stamp.

For more information on the contest, visit fws.gov/juniorduck.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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