– Mike Munoz
At a very early age, we were always told not to play with our food. Our parents would scold us and tell us it was rude or simply bad table manners. But Saturday evening at the Maude Kerns Art Center local residents and artists alike were encouraged to do just the opposite at the annual Jello Art Show, where participants make sculptures and molds completely out of the sweet gelatin treat.
Tucked away behind Matthew Knight Arena, the Maude Kerns Art Center has gained a reputation over the years for their eccentric exhibits and family friendly events. Perhaps one of their most popular and intriguing events is their annual Jello Art Show, which has been drawing crowds for nearly 30 years. The first show was held in 1983 as a parody of other mainstream galleries, and 3 years later the event moved to the Maude Kerns Art Center where it has been held on the Saturday following April Fool’s Day ever since.
Hundreds of curious residents and students alike swarmed to the small venue to get a glimpse of the tasty art. The theme of this year’s show was “A Toast to Jello”, which was interpreted in many different ways by the participants. Some used martini and wine glasses to make various jello themed cocktails. Others took the title more literally and made breakfast spreads of eggs, bacon and toast made entirely of jello. The show also featured a “Tacky Food Buffett,” which was composed mostly of donated snacks made of (you guessed it) jello. Some of the treats featured at the buffet were Tutu’s Olde Molde Salad and Kitty Litter Cake; both of which looked about as appetizing as they sounded.
The gallery also featured a slide show in a separate room that showed pictures from past events and exhibits at the Maude Kerns Art Center. Friends and family members packed into the room and giggled as pictures of loved ones in ridiculous costumes popped up on the wall. “I remember that one,” someone exclaims as a sculpture from last year’s Jello Art Show flashes on the wall.
The night was capped off with a fun loving concert by the Radar Angels and the Slug Queens. Both bands perform at most of the events held at the Maude Kerns Art Center and have gained a reputation for their wacky costumes and funny songs. The Slug Queens were covered in clothing featuring different jello fruit flavors and were color coordinated as if they were the aunts and mothers of the Fantanas. Some unusual instruments were employed such as a kazoo and ukulele while the performers kept the crowd laughing with their funny songs.
Overall, the Jello Art Show proved to be a fun atmosphere where friends and family could get together and enjoy one of our country’s favorite snacks, and the folks at the Maude Kerns Art Center certainly proved that no matter how old you are, playing with your food isn’t always a bad thing.