Summer conjures images of farmers markets and their bounty — healthy, ripe, vivid hues of purples, greens and reds. The color of such nourishing produce is on full display in the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County’s new exhibit, “Food, Glorious Food!” which will run through mid-August.
Twenty local artists contributed food-inspired artworks to the collection, but the theme transcends the artists’ rendering of the physicality of the fruit or vegetable.
Patricia House, director of the museum, said a special synergy exists between art and food, and that both can be an imaginative and creative experience that add to the joy of civilized living.
“A meal can be just a meal, or it can alter your mood, help heal your pain, be the focus of a social situation, help celebrate an event or tantalize your imagination,” she said. “Art is very similar. The plate becomes our canvas and we eat, create and get inspired by the gastronomic delicacies of our area.”
Local artist Nancy Brassington painted three pieces for the exhibit that depict fruit resting on patterned tablecloths.
“Food can be and often is prepared creatively,” she said. “The making of the food and the presentation of the food is designed to appeal to the taste and to the eyes of the viewer.”
Foodies and anyone who took home economics in high school will appreciate the events scheduled to run for the show’s duration. The “In the Garden of Eatin’ ” edible flower event, jam and popcorn demonstrations, a mushroom presentation and more are designed to highlight the importance of art and food as nourishment for the body, mind and soul.
Anne Quinn Corr witnessed a growing detachment during her 16 years as a nutritional sciences instructor at Penn State.
“We are two generations out of the kitchen, in many households, and people that are 20 today and just starting households don’t have any memory of events like bread-making at home or canning the best of summer produce,” she said.
“Our goal with the exhibit is to celebrate seasonal foods and to participate in the preparation of them — which is fun, not drudgery, as it is often perceived.”
Corr is now retired from Penn State. As a food writer for the Centre Daily Times and resident of the region for the past 30 years, she’s met many people who enjoy activities that celebrate the natural foods found in Centre County.
“We are going to put some of those people in the spotlight,” she said.
“I see the activities planned for the summer as very similar to the principles of the ‘slow food’ movement. Both good food and fine art make life worth living, and both can cause us to disconnect from our busy, online reality and appreciate something that is real and timeless.”
Artist Alice Kelsey contributed her pastel works to the exhibit and said she is looking forward to the project that merges the love of art and food.
“I like the array of media and styles of works in the exhibit, and the community outreach and bridging to hands-on discoveries in the events planned in conjunction with it,” she said.
“What a fun and creative exhibit.”
As a visual artist, Brassington compares painting to cooking in how she follows a process to take her to the finished product.
“The elements are thought, seeing, feeling and experimentation with design,” she said. “This is like putting together flour, sugar, butter, etc. ... Because people especially love food and they love something about art, food may bring them to the exhibit.” But I am hoping once they are there they will enjoy and love the art too.”