Tasteful art: Edible sculptures raise money and attention for Leechburg Area club

| Sunday, March 31, 2013, 9:04 p.m.

Art is sometimes a matter of taste. That's especially true at an upcoming fundraiser for Leechburg Area School District's Art Club.

“Eat Your Art Out” not only showcases the creative talents of Leechburg Area students, it offers up a taste of what they have made.

Those hungry for edible works ranging from candy-coated tanks to pasta people can sink their teeth into the show Saturday at Leechburg Area High School cafeteria.

The idea for creating an exhibit centered around artwork good enough to eat is one that Leechburg Area art teacher and art club sponsor Shayle Prorok came up with when she first started teaching at the school.

She planned it to be a fundraiser for art-club field trips. Now in its ninth year, it still is.

“I love baking and thought it would be different to hold an edible-sculpture competition,” she says.

She also likes the well-rounded experience that the event provides for students.

“First, I really believe the students take away some planning and organization skills,” she says. “They also take away problem-solving, math, communication, social and cooperative learning skills. Most importantly, they take away pride that they completed a project to this kind of extent.”

Senior Morgan Ceschini is working with a group of her fellow students on a “Lord of the Rings”-theme piece. She describes the exhibit as the “championship game for art students.”

“It's a great way for the community to see the creativity that Leechburg students have,” she says.

With her team, senior Cady Jones is making a cake that features an unfinished painting complete with a palette and paint brush.

“‘Eat Your Art Out' is amazing,” she says. “It allows us to express ourselves in a different way besides painting and molding clay. We get the chance to make something extraordinary.”

According to Leechburg senior Jaylin Booker, creating a delectable work of art takes time and effort.

“It's a challenge overall, that's what I love about it,” she says.

She also likes checking out the competition — and the fact that attendees can try a sample of the artwork, like the pasta person that she and fellow Leechburg Area art student Brianna Klapheke are creating together.

“I love that they can eat it, but also that you get to see the different pieces people can come up with.”

Students are able to use all kinds of edible mediums to express themselves. In previous years, the exhibit has showcased pieces made of popcorn, vegetables, fruit and even Rice Krispie treats.

Ethan Budzilek says his group's creation, a candy tank, could be a first-place winner in the exhibit's contest, which is judged by a panel of administrators and staff.

“I love this event,” he says. “I think the idea of being able to participate with your friends and create your own edible sculpture with a chance to win is so cool.”

Destiney Beavers, a sophomore, is making, along with her project partner John Learn, a rainbow using all kinds of candy, including taffy, sour belts, cotton candy, M&Ms and, of course, Skittles.

Besides the many tasty reasons for going, she says people should check out the show because it's different.

“It shows that students here at Leechburg can be very artistic in a different way than painting or drawing,” she says. “I, personally, think that it is very cool that a small school can put this together. The sculptures will blow your mind.”

The event will run from noon to 2:30 p.m. Admission is $5; free for age 2 and younger.

Julie Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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