Pretzels: not only tasty, but they make great art!

Early childhood students build house of food for Downtown Market food art contest

Early Childhood Center art teacher Beth Usadel watches her kindergartners build a food house for the Downtown Market’s Feast for the Eyes contest, to be judged by the public this month

Kindergartners at the Early Childhood Center were designing with crackers, pretzels, beans and glue in hopes of winning an ice cream party and a $500 grant in the Downtown Market’s Feast for the Eyes contest.

Art teacher Beth Usadel said her kindergarten students decided to build a house out of food objects for their collaborative piece.

“I just love their enthusiasm,” said Usadel, of Brittany Galster’s kindergarten class. “These kids are excited to come and make things; we’re having a good time.”

Feast for the Eyes, which showcases Grand Rapids area schools’ creative depictions of food in two separate categories, features kindergarten through eighth grade and ninth through 12th.

The public will vote on their favorite piece up until Oct. 27. The winning classroom in each category will receive an ice cream party courtesy of Love’s Ice Cream and a $500 grant for their school.

Usadel, in her first year as an art teacher for the entire Early Childhood Center, said she always liked art as a student.

“I kind of knew when I was in middle school that I wanted to be an art teacher and this is year 13 of teaching for me,” said Usadel, who also taught for Northview, East Grand Rapids and Big Rapids public schools.

Kindergartner Victoria Lwenge enjoyed the food art project.

“It’s fun,” Victoria said. “We’re making a normal house using pretzels and glue.”

Ruben Parra-Lopez smiled while admitting he ate one cracker and one pretzel building the house.

From left, Early Childhood Center kindergartners Railynn Freeman, Brelen Collins and Armani Thompson build a food house using crackers, beans, pretzels and glue
Cris Greer
For more than three decades, Cris Greer has been a wordsmith, working in the fields of journalism, advertising and marketing. Much of the past decade, he helped grow the MLive Statewide High School Sports desk as a supervisor, editor and reporter, which included eight newspapers in Michigan and mlive.com. Cris also was a freelancer for The Grand Rapids Press, The Advance and On the Town magazine for many years. A good portion of his early career was spent building and managing the copywriting team in the advertising department at Meijer, Inc., where he oversaw copywriting for print ads, mailers, brochures, signage, several dozen in-house magazines per year and much more. Read Cris's full bio or email Cris.

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