September 21, 2014
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Holiday decorating has never been so sweet
Herald photo by Steve Popiel
HOW SWEET IT IS: Pictured is just one of the thousands of gingerbread houses made at the Artists’ Exchange during the annual Gingerbread Decorating Contest. This year’s contest will be held on Dec. 7 and the entire family is invited to come, create and celebrate.

Artists’ Exchange has announced its 9th Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest to be held on Dec. 7 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at their location, 50 Rolfe Sq. in Cranston.

How does it work?

Participants start with a simple graham cracker pre-constructed house and craft it into a work of art. Armed with heaping supplies of frosting and a variety of colorful candy, the possibilities are endless. And with no age limit, everyone is invited to join in on the fun (and the nibbling). While participants may take their houses home that day, they are invited to submit their creations for judging in their corresponding age category. Families can also opt to work on a house together and be judged in a separate family category. Participating houses will be photographed and the winners will be announced online on Dec. 9 on Artists’ Exchange’s website. Prizes include free classes at Artists’ Exchange, valued at up to $215.

“We’re artists, so we use our creativity to keep things fresh,” said Karen Bouchard, the event’s coordinator and visual arts director at Artists’ Exchange. “This year, Shannon [Artists’ Exchange’s longtime lead art instructor] is transforming the columns in our studios into trees, creating the effect of a wintry forest.”

With the help of the high school students who gather weekly for Artists’ Exchange’s after-school Art Guild, the studios will be transformed into a magical scene, with sugary scents in the air and holiday tunes to welcome the hundreds of decorators who pass through.

Also new this year are plans to expand the decorating space to accommodate the crowds. Registration will be handled upstairs so that all of the downstairs studios can be cleared for fun.

“Nine years averaging 500 houses each year means close to 5,000 gingerbread houses have been made at the art center. That means a lot of work, a lot of hot glue and a lot of patience; yet we look forward to this event every year,” said Bouchard.

In addition to returning favorites, including grab bags, face painting and a raffle, this year’s includes a family four pack for a visit to the Roger Williams Park Zoo.

All class registrations processed on the day of the event will qualify for 25 percent off tuition on Artists’ Exchange’s winter session offering classes in art, ceramics, music and theater for all ages.

The cost for participating in the 9th annual Gingerbread House Decorating Contest is $12 per house. Reservations are strongly recommended. For reservations, call 490-9475. For more information, visit www.artists-exchange.org.

Artists’ Exchange is a non-profit arts collaborative whose mission is to create an atmosphere in which creativity, learning and discovery converge and individuality is celebrated. Artists’ Exchange is home to multiple art studios, a gallery, art boutique and café, along with secondary venue Theatre 82, a multi-use performance, meeting and instructional space. Join us for enriching classes and a variety of events in art, theater and music.

Artists’ Exchange is operated by Gateways to Change; a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all human beings. For more information, visit www.artists-exchange.org and www.gatewaystochange.org.


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