Thomasville, Georgia-- Dozens of the world's best wildlife artists are in Thomasville this weekend for one of Georgia's most prestigious art festivals.
Booth Malone gave up his job in the corporate world of Coca Cola to become a wildlife artist. He's one of at least 60 who are in Thomasville. "I've been painting fox hunting scenes and steeple chase races, flat racing for about 12, 13 years. Some take several weeks to do, maybe a month. I've got paintings in my studio I started several years ago," says Malone.
"They come from all over the United States, Canada. We have one artist here from Africa," says Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival Chairwoman, Margo Bindhardt.
Some of the artists are the best in the business, similar to the prestige of the festival, the Thomasville Cultural Center's biggest fundraiser. "Children come here to take painting, singing, dancing, you name it, classes in just about any of the arts," says Bindhardt.
The show officially starts on Saturday, but it was kicked off on Friday with a special butterfly release for kids at Thomasville Christian School. "We want to educate the young people about the importance of nature," says Bindhardt.
Back inside, the artists feel the same way. That's why they put so much effort into their work. "If someone appreciates my work and my paintings enough to put in their homes, then I try to do the best I can," says Malone. As do the sculptors and jewelers who are also there.
Governor Sonny Perdue says he salutes festival organizers for their dedication to Georgia's wildlife.