Visions of Sugar Plums

written by Ilene Ross
photos ©Gina Weathersby/kiwistreetstudios

It’s not often enough for us that the worlds of food and art come together. Why not, we ask? We first eat with our eyes, and after spending hours gazing at masterpieces in museums and galleries, we get really, really hungry. This is just one of the many reasons we were eagerly anticipating the opening of “Food as Art” last Friday night at Covington’s The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center. This show never disappoints the palate or the eyes.

Along with about 600 of our like-minded closest friends, we gathered to enjoy artistic and scrumptious tastings from some of our most favorite restaurants and, well, art in the shape of food, and some-in the case of the most noted local artists, food in the shape of art. After a couple of cocktails, the lines between what we were allowed to eat and what was off limits were becoming slightly blurred….

But back to the art. Saturday morning, we woke up with visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads. Well, sort of. You see, the most beguiling beauties welcomed us into the party. Decked out in the cheekiest, Napoleonic style ball gowns-co-created by Nationally recognized artist Pam Kravetz and The Bonbonerie’s Sharon Butler- these fanciful dresses wowed the eyes and had us drooling, eager for the offerings of the surrounding chefs. But, it wasn’t sugar plums on one of the gowns, it was cakes! And cupcakes! In fact, I need to find out if I these outfits will be available to purchase; Halloween would be extra special this year. I could open the door dressed in a bustier laden with gum drops, life savers, and chocolate, and give new meaning to the phrase “trick or treat.”

In 2008, we were mesmerized by the toast Mona Lisa created by Eric Brass. We adore toast. The warm, comforting smell wafting up from the Dualit, the French butter and honey dripping off the sides, sopping up that last little bit of egg yolk….ahh, sorry, I digress. This year we were enthralled to see an entire room devoted to toast. A whole room was almost too good to be true, and the glass works by Leah Busch and Sandra Gross were so imaginative and charming; their whimsicality almost made up for the fact that we couldn’t actually consume any of the toast in the room.

One of our most favorite “lines were most definitely blurred between food and works of art,” had to be the utterly delightful room designed by the adorable Marisa Dipaola. In true “Willy Wonka” style, the walls in this tiny area were completely covered with sheet after sheet of that childhood favorite candy, “Dots”. Topped on one side by a row of “Peeps”, and the other, a row of “Circus Peanuts”, in the center was the artist herself, wearing , yes, a Dot dress, Peep necklace, and Circus Peanut flip flops. In the Yiddish words of my dearly departed Grandma Ida, we “plotzed.” We sighed with delight and wondered if we could move in and lick the walls.

Then of course there are always Peggy Shannon’s Queen City Cookies. Each a tiny magnum opus itself; (although we need our reading glasses to first admire the teensy tiny Renoirs and Monets) thank goodness we ARE allowed to eat these.

Food as Art runs at The Carnegie until April 13th. Go. But, eat at one of the restaurants that provided the tasty food for the opening before you do, because unfortunately, they’re not there for the whole show, and you don’t want to look at all of the delicious art on an empty stomach.


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Vicky Kimble - March 7, 2012 - 12:41 pm

Hi Ilene~

Thanks so much for taking the time to post a picture of my “Bon Appetite” Balloosion sculpture (the spaghetti dinner). I’m the artist that did the un-inflated balloon art in the little room next to the glass toast exhibit. This was my first time being a part of this exhibit and I hope you enjoyed my work. It’s a new and unique art form, so it’s really nice to have the exposure.

All the best~

Vicky Kimble

Anne - March 7, 2012 - 12:56 pm

beautiful documentation of the event!

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