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Mackenzie Cichocki Wins Community Canvas 2015-16

Mackenzie Cichocki, a fifth-grader at Seven Generations Charter School in Emmaus, lit up The Arts Walk at City Center in downtown Allentown Saturday afternoon (May 21) with her winning entry in the 2015-2016 Community Canvas Grand Finale. The 11-year-old’s artwork earned first place among the 11 participants in this year’s final round.

Six elementary schools participated in Community Canvas 2015-16, an innovative arts competition that teaches children to make better, healthier choices while having fun creating art. The program is sponsored by Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital in conjunction with the Rodale Institute and Lehigh Valley Art Spark.

Preliminary round winners included:

  • Enas Sallowm and Jadin Ruiz of Sheridan Elementary School, Allentown School District. (Sallowm was unable to participate in Saturday’s Grand Finale).
  • Janisha Galarza and Rashaun Nicholson of Central Elementary School, Allentown School District.
  • Angelice Roman and Joelis Santiago of Cleveland Elementary School, Allentown School District.
  • Sydney Ziegenfus and Blaine Berger of Harry S. Truman Elementary School, Salisbury Township School District.
  • Leland Cannon and Laurans Trinh of Western Salisbury Elementary School, Salisbury Township School District.
  • Mackenzie Cichocki and Paige Destremps, Seven Generations Charter School, East Penn School District.

At each Community Canvas competition, students received a lunchbox full of art supplies and had 45 minutes to create a piece of artwork based on a common healthy theme. The overall champion was selected by voting from the sizeable audience at The Arts Walk, who cheered on the competitors despite threatening weather conditions.

Cichocki’s grand prize included more than $250 worth of art supplies, including paints, brushes, canvases, sketchbooks, markers, colored pencils, charcoal, pastels and water colors.

Amber Van Wert wins healthy cooking contest

In a companion event – the “three-secret ingredient” chef’s competition of healthy meal samples – Amber Van Wert, of Greenmouth Juice Bar and Café of Allentown and Easton, took first place over Sarah Cohen of Lil Miss Organic in Allentown and Jesse Barrett of the Rodale Institute Garden Store in Kutztown.

The competing chefs used quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas in their dishes. The ingredients came from an organic pantry provided for the competition that included, fruits, vegetables, herbs and other staples. Again, audience members selected the winner and also enjoyed free samples.