By Ali Nicole

The Ward Museum of Salisbury continues to share the time-honored tradition of the Ward brothers, whose advanced decorative decoy carvings inspired a worldwide movement in decoy art. World-class carvers and decoy artists continue to join the Ward Museum to pass on the skills to sustain this art form. If you’re looking to try your hand at decoy art, classes at the Ward Museum are the ideal choice.

Young people can start with a two-day carving class on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 28-29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The class is for ages 13 and up with parental permission and will take students through the carving of a Canvasback decoy using cork. Local carving artist, Daniel Baltezegar, returns to partner with the museum for this class. Cost is $150 for non-members and the registration deadline is Monday, Jan. 23.

Learn to carve and paint a Piping Plover on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 11-12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The two-day class will be led by award-winning carver, William Scott Belote, and will take participants from start to finish of the decoy-carving and painting process. Carvers will produce their own piece of decoy art. Non-member price is $200 for this in depth training.

In March, learners get two chances to carve two song birds under the direction of renowned carver, Rich Smoker. Choose one day or both days, Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Day one will teach participants how to make their own Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and day two will focus on the Blackburnian Warbler. Non-member pricing for one class is $125 and both days are $225 (with the $25 discount). 

Classes include all materials. 

Participation in this time-honored tradition keeps the spirit of the Ward brothers and the mission of the Ward Museum alive and well. While the galleries and gift shop are closed for maintenance, the Ward Museum continues to offer classes and programming. This Eastern Shore treasure has provided joy and tradition to the community time and again and is always a great local venture to join and support.

Brittany Andrew, interim executive director of the Ward Museum, shared her thoughts on the upcoming classes. “The galleries may be closed for remediation, but we still have an excellent line up of classes and offerings for the new year. We have a little bit of something for everyone. Our youth carving classes taught by Daniel Baltezegar have been a huge hit, so we are glad that he is returning to instruct another class in January. We also have returning favorites Scott Belote and Rich Smoker teaching carving classes in February and March respectively. These two carvers are superb instructors, sharing their decades of knowledge with their students. Now is a great time to learn this unique art form.”