Serious allergies kept Searcy native Glenn Pollard indoors during his formative years, where he spent most of his time drawing and painting.
Now, Pollard creates profound outdoorsy art, including the annual Arkansas Ducks Unlimited sponsor print, which he started painting in 2014.
Pollard is the owner of Pollard Studio in Searcy, where he lives with his wife, Loretta. He loves having his own studio, but he also has a small workspace at his home where he produces the majority of his art. Pollard said he “set his goals high” when starting out, as he drifted toward realism in art, which helps him when he is creating the hyper-realistic duck prints and his other outdoor pieces.
The 2023 print, “Show Me the Green,” was his ninth creation for Ducks Unlimited, but when it comes to the waterfowl industry, Pollard is a bit of a self-dubbed “odd duck,” as he has never been duck hunting. Like a “tattoo artist with no tattoos,” he said.
But this does not hold Pollard back. Despite never duck hunting himself, his favorite part of the process is immersing himself in the “natural beauty of the locations and the waterfowl” he is rendering.
Whether it is a “duck or a dog or a portrait,” Pollard loves creating the prints, and while he’s designing them, he feels right “at home.”
“He does some really fabulous work, and people in Arkansas are excited about it,” Larry Winningham, Arkansas State Chairman for Ducks Unlimited, said.
Pollard got his start working under Terry Williams at his shop, Terry’s Touch of Art, in Searcy. Williams, who had a long-standing relationship with Ducks Unlimited both as a framer and artist for their auctions, introduced Pollard to the scene.
Pollard ended up buying the studio from Williams in 2007 and continued framing for Ducks Unlimited. When they approached him in 2013 with the offer to do the sponsor print, “I said yes and have continued,” Pollard said. He’s been the only artist making the Arkansas Sponsor Print every year since, excluding 2020 when the program was paused.
Arkansas is the only state to have a specialized print from a local artist outside of the national Ducks Unlimited print. The other 49 states get the national print, but Arkansas sponsors receive Pollard’s.
“You can’t go to Mississippi or Missouri and get this print; it is Arkansas specific, and it is new each year,” Winningham said. “We have people now whose goal is to get one of his prints every year.”
This idea is something other states are now looking into, Winningham said, “because it gives you something different than everyone else has access to. We’re in our own wheelhouse.”
There are only a few ways to get one of Pollard’s prints. Bronze sponsors of Ducks Unlimited in Arkansas receive one, which means they donated at least $275, or the equivalent of preserving one acre of wetland, to the organization.
But the sponsorship has to be in Arkansas, which increases sponsors in the state because they want Pollard’s print, Winningham explained.
Around 30 prints on canvas also go up for sale or auction at Arkansas Ducks Unlimited events, so people “pretty much have to come to Arkansas to get one,” Winningham said.
Pollard enjoys creating the prints, and he hopes that his duck paintings “conjure up good feelings, good times and good memories” that others can identify with.
The Deeper Impact
All the proceeds from sponsors and Pollard’s prints go toward wetland conservation in Arkansas and throughout North America, of which Pollard is honored to be a part.
Wetland conservation is something that is becoming increasingly important in Arkansas and North America. “If you look back at all the wetlands that used to be here, we have lost a lot of them,” Winningham said. “That water still has to go somewhere. Now instead of a marsh flooding, it’s a neighborhood.”
The importance of the funds for wetland conservation is vital, Winningham said. The money from prints and sponsors can be directly transferred to flood control, groundwater filtration and more duck breeding and resting grounds.
“Arkansas is a prime destination for waterfowlers around the world, especially for hunting in flooded timber,” Pollard said. “Consequently, Arkansas is able to raise a lot of money for the ducks. Maintaining that habit is good for the ducks, the enthusiasts and associated businesses alike. It’s a 360 win, and I’m happy to have had a part in that over the years.”