12:20 PM

Christian Barangian Wins 5th Community Canvas Grand Finale

Christian Barangian, a third-grader from Tracy Elementary School in Easton, was crowned the overall champion Saturday in the fifth annual Community Canvas Grand Finale at Lehigh Valley Mall.

The 8-year-old Barangian bested 17 other third-, fourth- and fifth-grade artists to take home the top prize in the competition which gave youngsters from eight area elementary schools the chance to display their passion for healthy living and their talent for art.

Omari Brooks, 8, a third-grader from Steckel Elementary School, was the runner up. Sadie Crume, 11, a fourth-grader from Shawnee Elementary School, placed third. Other participants in the grand finale included: Julian Nieves, 10, a fifth-grader from Cheston Elementary School; Lilly Peluszak, 9, and Justin Marquez, 8, third-graders from Steckel Elementary School; Elias Baurkot, 9, a fourth-grader, Gianna Palmeri, 10, and Kari Szczesny, 11, fifth-graders, from Forks Elementary School; Johnavone Stragratanio, 10, and Wyatt King, 9, fourth-graders from Paxinosa Elementary School; Matthew Nigro, 8, a third-grader from Shawnee Elementary School; Trent Ader, 10, a fourth-grader, and Eddy Molina, 11, a fifth-grader, from Tracy Elementary School; Kellyn Chung, 11, a fifth-grader, and Valeria Restrepo, 9, a fourth-grader, from Zephyr Elementary School; Navaeh Brown, 8, and Jainmarie Figueroa, 8, third-graders from Central Elementary School. Schools from the Allentown, Whitehall-Coplay and Easton Area school districts participated in the competition.

While the artists were hard at work creating their masterpieces in the 45 minutes allotted for the competition, local chefs competed in a “cook-off” creating healthy, tasty snacks. Sarah Hinsch from Greenmouth Juice Bar and Café in Easton and Allentown prevailed in the cooking competition. Jack Jones, farmer at Knopp Branch Farms and Tom Rutherford, culinary arts instructor at Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical School, also participated. Each chef was tasked with incorporating cauliflower, almonds and grapes into their snacks.

Through a partnership between Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital and Lehigh Valley Art Spark – and in conjunction with the Kellyn Foundation – Community Canvas gives students the opportunity to create artwork based on healthy eating habits and all-around wellness. There were eight preliminary rounds featuring each school to determine the competitors for the grand finale. All of the student artwork will be hung in Lehigh Valley Health Network facilities.