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It's an exhibit forbidden to touch until the end of the night, when viewers and artists are encouraged to tear into the artwork with forks, knives and hands, eating the sculptures and 3-D paintings.

The 22nd annual Edible Art Show for Baltimore County Public Schools was held March 22 at Catonsville High School, which hosts the show every year through the school's National Art Honor Society. Students from throughout the district participated.

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This year's showing was slightly down from last year, when more than 100 people participated, said organizer Windy Spiridigliozzi, who is an art teacher at Catonsville High. There were 11 entries in the elementary division, 11 in the middle school division and 60 in the high school division.

Students at Catonsville High School are turning trash into wearable art.

The show is a community tradition, she said. Parents come in the judge, look and taste even after their children leave school. Old students return to see the art works. And students from every grade level have the chance to compete together, though in different categories.

Coming up with an idea for a piece is a challenge, Spiridigliozzi said, and so is figuring out what materials will best bring the piece of life based on color and texture.

"They're using art elements and design principles without realizing it," she said.

Despite the lower turnout, Spiridigliozzi said she felt there was better-quality art at the show this year.

A lifelike model of the business district of Frederick Road won the people's choice award. The model took Catonsville High seniors Addie Gross and Molly Gough 17 hours to put together. The pair made the foundation of the buildings, such as Jennings Cafe, Catonsville Gourmet and Ships Cafe, out of rice cereal and marshmallows. Those structures were covered with graham crackers for a cleaner, sharper look, Gough said.

Gross and Gough said the block was an easily recognizable subject.

"It's something familiar to everyone," Gross said.

The model includes with detailed signs identical to what one would see walking down Frederick Road, including a horse's head on Jennings Cafe and a big fish on the sign for Catonsville Gourmet. That detailed work was done with edible markers, Gross said.

At the middle school level, a group of students from Heritage Instructional Services, a home-school tutorial program in Catonsville, won first place. The students made a scene with pirates, the sea and an island, complete with some bunny Peeps who fell victim to candy sharks swimming in the blue gelatin water beneath the boat.

One of the most unusual pieces at the show was a bust of hip-hop artist DJ Khaled created by Catonsville High student Patricia Arcellena. She used three bags of puffed rice cereal mixed with marshmallows for the base, then filled in Khaled's hair with crushed Oreo cookies and colored the base with cocoa powder. It took her about three hours to put together, she said.

As for the subject, she kept the explanation simple.

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