It’s the title of an exhibit on display through January at the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art in Millersburg, and a description that truly embodies well-known artist Ned Smith’s nearly lifelong association with the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Smith began working with the Game Commission shortly after World War II, when he started illustrating for Pennsylvania Game News as a freelance artist.
The new kid in the Game News’ stable of artists, Smith displayed an early talent to illustrate stories with made-to-order pen-and-ink drawings that gave the magazine’s pages the pop that was so important in publishing then.
“Even in Ned’s early work, it’s not hard to see how talented he was,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “But Ned was never satisfied. He continued to grow as an artist throughout his life. His commitment to excellence is almost overwhelming.”
Smith illustrated his first Game News cover in 1950. Over his life – and posthumously – his work has appeared on 124 covers.
Of course, Smith was more than magazine covers to the Game Commission. He was an award-winning columnist, helped start the agency’s Working Together for Wildlife and Waterfowl Stamp programs, and made considerable contributions to conservation as a naturalist. He also served a brief stint as Game News editor. Smith’s 1971 Gone for the Day book, a compilation of his Game News columns, remains one of the agency’s best-selling books.
“He was Game News’ Norman Rockwell,” Burhans noted. “And his art and writings embodied the crusade for wildlife conservation and a cleaner environment. He truly was one of the best friends Pennsylvania wildlife ever had. I grew up as a kid reading every issue of Game News. Ned Smith’s artwork became iconic of Game News and the Game Commission”
Smith’s original Game News cover paintings, as well as other historical items from the Game Commission’s past are part of “Working Together Through Time: The Game Commission and Ned Smith.”
The center is located at 176 Water Company Road in Millersburg. For more information, call 717-692-3699.