Venture into the world of food art with Columbia Art League’s ‘Comestible’

The exhibit, lasting until May 5, is paired with a fundraising event this week that matches the art with tapas dishes.

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The organizers of the Columbia Art League know that everybody loves eating. This is why they host an annual exhibit at their gallery on South Ninth Street based solely on food. Though the theme of the exhibit remains constant, the title changes every year. This year’s exhibit is “Comestible,” meaning “edible.”

According to the league’s website, “Language loves food: cornucopia, ambrosia, delicatessen, confectionery, aphrodisiac, and the show’s title, comestible, are such lovely words upon the tongue, that they almost have their own flavor.”

“I think it’s a very accessible subject matter,” said Diana Moxon, Columbia Art League’s executive director. “Artists like creating art about food, people like looking at art about food, and people like buying art about food. Art can sometimes be esoteric, but when the subject matter is something as down-to-earth as food, we all understand it. People can explore the theme of food in different ways. The subject matter is wide and not too niche, and so it makes it acceptable to everybody.”

The artworks included in the exhibit were submitted by anyone interested and selected by an objective party from outside of the community. This juror looks at all of the artwork submitted and chooses what they think is the best for the 80 spaces available. This year, the juror is Paul Allen, a professor of art from State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri.

“For the Comestible show, we had around 120 artworks submitted, which is more than we have space for, so it’s up to the juror to pare that down to the 80 that fit in the gallery,” Moxon said. “The juror’s criteria for choosing the works is usually a combination of artistic quality and how well a work fits the theme of the show.”

The Comestible exhibit, which opened March 14 and closes May 5, will also be paired with Let Them Eat Art!, a fundraising event on April 13. Let Them Eat Art! pairs tapas dishes created by nine local artists with paintings from the exhibit. The event raises money for the Columbia Art League. Only 100 tickets are available and go for $35 per person.

This year’s chefs include: Jeremy Bowles from Room 38 Restaurant & Lounge; Mike Odette from Sycamore; Ben Parks and Josh Smith from Barred Owl Butcher & Table; Tyra Byas and Alli Bond from the Columbia Area Career Center Culinary Arts; Mark Sulltrop from 44 Stone Public House; James Lowe from House of Chow; Eric Seidler from Broadway Brewery; and Cheyney Andrews from Bleu Catering.

“I really like the marriage of different art mediums,” Moxon said. “Chefs are artists too, they just work in a different medium. I like to do shows where we have different art forms mixed together. The Let Them Eat Art! event is a chance for people to eat food, drink wine, meet chefs and enjoy art all in one place.”

Edited by Katherine White | kwhite@themaneater.com

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