By Starrla Cray
CARVER COUNTY, MN If helping to establish wildlife habitat and support local outdoor youth education events aren’t reasons enough to attend the Carver County Pheasants Forever banquet, here’s one more incentive each attendee will receive a print of a commemorative pheasant painting by local wildlife artist Carl Melichar.
The Saturday, Jan. 22 banquet at Hamburg Community Hall will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Carver County chapter of Pheasants Forever. Social hour begins at 5 p.m., and dinner is at 7 p.m.
“Our banquet is open to anyone,” Carver County Pheasants Forever President Gary Graczyk said. A variety of ticket price options are available at the door.
“This is our sole fundraiser,” Graczyk said, adding that proceeds are used not only to establish and enhance pheasant habitats, but also to support the organization’s increasing involvement and commitment to youth outdoor education.
Melichar, who owns Countyside Art Gallery in Mayer, is a well-known wildlife artist who specializes in sporting dogs and pheasants.
His original painting “Tiger Lake Springtime Flight” was created expressly for the Pheasants Forever banquet. It features two sparring male pheasants, with a hen seated nearby.
“Everyone who comes to the banquet will get a mini-reproduction, printed by Herald Journal,” Melichar said. “I will be there that evening, displaying the original painting and number-one print, which will be auctioned off.”
The original oil work of art on linen canvas includes a high-quality frame from Framing Images in Cologne.
Melichar, who grew up on a dairy farm near Hutchinson, is an avid outdoorsman who supports Pheasants Forever on both a local and national scale.
“It’s good for the environment and good for youth,” he said. “Planting trees and knowing the environment around you is important.”
Melichar has combined his love for nature and creative talent to become a wildlife artist who is respected throughout the country.
“I’ve been working with artwork since the late ‘70s, and I specialize in painting sporting dogs and pheasants,” he said.
He’s displayed his work at national shows for 30 years, at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival 29 years, and at the Minnesota State Fair for 17 years. His next out-of-state appearance will be at the National Pheasant Fest in Omaha, NE at the end of January.
Melichar said his artwork often reminds people of their own pets and outdoor experiences.
“It relates to a lot of people,” he said, adding that people often come up to him at art shows to share their own stories and memories.
Many of Melichar’s sales are from repeat customers who’ve been following his work for 10 to 15 years. On occasion, Melichar will also do paintings on commission.
Melichar said he is looking forward to the opportunity to share his work at the Carver County Pheasants Forever banquet.
“It’s going to be a fun evening,” he said.
To learn more about the banquet, contact Graczyk at (320) 420-5196. More information about the Carver County Pheasants Forever is available at www.carvercounty.pheasantsforever.org.