Playing with your food was encouraged at the 20th annual Edible Art Show Tuesday night in the cafeteria of Catonsville High School.
Masterpieces made of candy, Rice Krispie Treats and even broccoli covered the cafeteria tables as hundreds paid the admission fee of 1$ or a canned food item to view more than 100 entries at the event.
Works of art varied from interpretations of Claes Oldenburg's Pop Art sculpture "Apple Core" made of Rice Krispies Treats and fondant, to a delicate pond made of fruit and Jell-O with swans carved from apples.
Other works included: a severed head made of Rice Krispies Treats, Fruit Roll-Ups and gummy worms; the head of Medusa created with squash and candy; and a crocodile composed of bread, eggs, parsley, sausage, olives, artichokes, almonds, ham and spinach.
"It's an opportunity for neighbors and kids of all ages to get together. I see plenty of my students coming tonight with their little brothers and sisters and I like that they work together," said Windy Spiridigliozzi, an art teacher at the school and coordinator of National Art Honor Society.
The event was organized by the National Art Honor Society (NAHS) and students from the organization were required to participate in the event.
Prizes were donated by a number of local businesses.
The event raised $102 will go toward the production and installation of a 50-foot wide mosaic at the school being created by NAHS, and 211 pounds of food were collected for the Maryland Food Bank.
Jaclyn Golino, a sophomore, was among the students present. She created a work called "Krabby Patties" with two friends, inspired by the Nickelodeon television show 'Sponge Bob Squarepants.'
"My friends and I came because we're part of NAHS and wanted to check out the other art," Golino said.
Participants were judged in three categories: elementary school, middle school and high school students and community members.
Judges were overwhelmed by all of the creativity in the room before they began judging the art.
"There are so many good pieces here to choose from. It's going to be difficult," said Al Grossen, an art teacher at the school who served as a judge for the eighth year.
This was fellow art teacher Jeanette Czagkawski's first year deciding who would win the contest.
Both agreed that creativity, originality, time, patience and effort were criteria in determining the winners.
Casey Radner's colorful sculpture of crushed Jolly Rancher candies, Oreo cookies and marshmallows took the first place prize in the high school and community competition. Radner, a senior in National Art Honor Society created a dragon coming out of jewels inspired by "The Hobbit" movies.
The Catonsville resident's art captured the attention of many walking by. It was not only well-crafted, but also lit up thanks to a string of Christmas lights.
"I really love to see people's reaction as they walk by," Radner said as the judging was taking place.
Spiridigliozzi said Radner's sculpture was the first she's encountered in 17 years to use electricity at the event.
"It lights up — that's new. I've never seen that before," Spiridigliozzi said.
Jo-Ellen O'Dell, an English teacher at Catonsville High, won second place in the same category with her use of the unique Chinese fruit durian to depict bees crawling on a branch.
Evangeline Gallagher, a Catonsville High senior, took third with an edible version of a severed head.
Eli Brash won first place in the middle school category for his post-apocalyptic version of the Eiffel Tower.
First place in the elementary category went to Heritage Instructional Services Home School for their "Life Saver" sculpture.
Anisa George, 18, a senior at Catonsville, said she invested three hours in carving a rose from a watermelon.
Although she didn't win a prize, she was happy to be part of the excitement.
"I enjoyed being part of this, so winning doesn't really matter much," George said.
Students at Heritage Instructional Services, a two-day a week home school tutorial program, were among those in attendance. Their version of Rene Magritte's "False Mirror" consisted of multiple cakes that depicted each student's interpretation of the surrealist painting. Cakes were constructed of Rice Krispies Treats, candy, Oreo cookies, Goldfish crackers and other snack foods and earned them the People's Choice award.
"The kids love it. We construct it so that they have the opportunity to make their own individual piece that is part of a larger one. So they do it individually, but also collectively," Lynn Brooks, a mother of three students at Heritage
After the judges' decisions were announced, people began dismantling the art — eating hunks of cake and pieces of candy attached to the creations.
Kynera Wooten, 14, a Catonsville resident who is homeschooled through the Heritage program, devoured a piece of brownie that was part of her artwork.
"It was really hard to do all of this, so eating this is wonderful," she said, between bites of brownie.