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Auburn graduate’s masterpiece wins ‘Best in Show’ at Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival

A graduate of Auburn University recently took home the top prize at the Alabama Wildlife Fine Arts Competition, part of the second-annual Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival (WEWA).

Jared Knox, winner of the ‘Best in Show’ category, graduated from Auburn in 2021 with a degree in mechanical engineering and had only pursued art as a hobby during most of his time on the Plains.

It wasn’t until his final semester in college, that Knox was invited to show some of his artwork at a gallery in suburban Atlanta. He said that the encouragement from a gallery owner at one such event provided a “light bulb moment” pushing him to make art, not engineering, into a full-time job.

The young artist also discussed his award winning piece, “Bobcat and Bobwhite,” showcasing a bobcat and its prey up close. Knox said the idea originally came to him while hunting in North Georgia.


“There was one field that had a bobcat in it, and once or twice I got to see that bobcat hunt,” Knox said. “It was at sunset. That image stuck with me. It was a big bobcat. I love that image, and I also love in general the story of different animals going out and catching their food.”

“How cool would it be if I ever saw this, a bobcat holding a quail?” he added. “It looks like he’s just recently gotten it. It’s a fresh kill.”

Knox was excited to be recognized amongst some of his artistic heroes.

“It was really cool to be a part of it, because some of the artists I look up to most were there, like Dirk Walker and Sue Key,” he said. “I’ve been a fan of theirs forever. To be a part of it and win and talk with them, it was really great.”

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“It was awesome.”

Knox also credits his family’s first trip to the Alabama Black Belt in Lowndes County as a teen with creating his love for hunting and wildlife.

ALBBAA helped promote the second annual Wetumpka Wildlife Arts Festival, which was created through a partnership involving the Kelly Fitzpatrick Memorial Gallery, known to locals as “The Kelly,” the City of Wetumpka and the Smoot Harris Family.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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