Last year, artist Vivian Davis spent many cold afternoons in her garage creating an 8½-foot sugary sculpture for Carroll County Arts Council’s PEEPshow. Her dedication and hard work merited 2017’s grand prize award for “Mother of (Peeps) Dragons.”
“I was inspired by the 10th anniversary and I wanted to win first place,” said Davis, of Sykesville. “I wasn’t 100 percent certain or comfortable when I took it up to the Arts Center, but I had the most amazing, positive response. So many people took pictures with the dragon and sent them to me and posted them on Facebook. It’s nice that people appreciated it so much.”
The 11th annual PEEPshow will be held Thursday, March 29, through Tuesday, April 10, at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster. The event features 150 marshmallow masterpieces, including sculptures, dioramas, mosaics and even videos, all crafted from or inspired by Peeps, a marshmallow candy.
Last year the PEEPshow attracted more than 26,000 visitors. Previous year’s events have featured a wide variety of entries, including the Swedish Chef from “The Muppet Show,” Goofy, Snoopy, Winnie-the-Pooh, the Statue of Peeperty, Peep Panther, and a host of magical monsters, sports heroes, movie characters and other clever celebrations of pop culture, history and fine art.
Prize packages will be awarded to the five entries receiving the most in-person votes and to the five entries receiving the most online votes. The overall grand prize winner will be determined by combining the number of in-person and online votes and will receive a special prize package from Just Born Inc. — makers of Peeps — and the Carroll County Arts Council.
There will be an additional award for the favorite video as they will not be eligible to compete for online votes. Voting will end at 5 p.m. on the final day of the event. All proceeds will benefit the Carroll County Arts Council.
Davis, who has been teaching art in Carroll County for several years and works in a variety of mediums, said she was inspired by the challenge of working with Peeps.
“Challenges always get me excited,” she said.
Davis said she is a designer by nature and tends to do a lot of the concept work first before she settles on a design.
"They always tell you if you have a great idea, go with your gut,” Davis said. “If you get excited about something you’re doing, do it. Create what you love.”
Davis, who made the dragon out of mostly blue Peeps, said she loves expressive color and tries to reflect that in her work. The dragon was created out of mostly recycled and reclaimed materials and was a challenge right up to the deadline.
“At 3 a.m., when I had to have it delivered there the next morning, I had trouble with the wings,” Davis said. “They were heavier than I anticipated. I took some wood and made a couple of stands and painted them black.”
Davis said she plans to make a more reasonably sized sculpture this year.
“I’m excited to see what other people come up with,” she said.