Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Venice was! The iconic Italian city was commemorated in gingerbread as this year’s Gingertown, DC. The annual charity event was started in 2006 by David M. Schwarz Architects, and offers builders, engineers, contractors, and architects a chance to buy lots in the micro-campus for competitive gingerbread-building. Interest in the competition has grown so much over 13 years that the firm has had to find an offsite venue to present the results, and the competition has even spread to other cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, and Nashville.
“It’s a way to give back to the community, but also an emphasis on local architecture and engineering projects,” said Hannah Tsimmerman, Marketing Manager at David M. Schwarz and unofficial “Mayor of Gingertown.” Past themes for the event have included conceptual spaces, like a university campus, imaginary locales, like last year’s fairytale Medieval village, and other real cities, like London and Las Vegas. This year, it was “Gingertown Venice.”
The rules are simple: all materials have to be edible, and no structural supports can be used on the inside of buildings. Gingertown also discourages participants from making their structures too tall, because the results remain on display anywhere from 1-3 weeks after the build, and bigger gingerbread buildings are prone to entropy.
“This really gives the engineers an opportunity to shine,” said Tsimmerman. “Especially when it comes to level of detail and structural integrity, gingerbread is a nontraditional medium.”
This year’s competitors ran the gamut within the theme, with some replicating actual landmarks of Venice, like St. Mark’s Basilica and Square and Ponti di Rialto, and others tackling spaces more open to interpretation, like bakeries and homes rendered in the Venetian style. Participants show up with a plan and have about 3 hours to build their entries, which then have to make it downstairs to take their place among the site. The grand prize winner was Walter P. Moore, who created “St. Mars Basilica” with Mars bars. Other prizes are awarded for innovative use of materials, judge’s choice, the best expression of theme, and of course, “Mayor’s Choice,” chosen by Tsimmerman.
“A lot of firms this year wanted to bring in the element of climate change and water rising, so they put blue icing or jelly beans on the ground level of their buildings,” said Tsimmerman.
Gingertown raised a record amount this year on behalf of charities including the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing, Community of Hope, St. Elizabeths Hospital, Children’s National Hospital, and So Others Might Eat. Planning for next year’s theme, sponsor location, and participants begins around June at David M. Schwarz, so interested parties are encouraged to practice their icing techniques and research how to make a flying buttery-ess.
The last few years at the museum have not been without controversy, and Decatur will inherit a record of workforce struggles.
Refugees of the Moria camp in Lesvos, Greece are behind the camera in the film Nothing About Us Without Us.
This adventurous theater festival returns in person with 36 artists and companies from nine countries performing at different venues across the city.
Helen Molesworth’s true-crime sensation marginalizes the artist’s life and legacy.
Members of NatSoc Florida performed the Nazi salute and chanted “Heil Hitler” at a local LGBTQ+ charity’s fundraiser in Lakeland.
Learn more about the New York-based, globally linked program and its upcoming discussions on art and society in the time of AI and data governance.
Nothing on the canvas wholly captures what it means to belong on land or at sea.
Dyson is part of a growing number of contemporary artists to imbue geometric abstraction with a sociopolitical dimension.
The program, along with recently announced visiting critics, will provide long term funding, promote access, and safeguard experimentation for future students of color.
In an exhibition that consists of mostly small-scale black and white works on paper, viewer engagement almost magically awakens the sleepy room.
Maria Maea’s All in Time continues an intergenerational conversation and exemplifies the artist’s process, not simply the finished pieces.
Koestler Arts works with incarcerated people and patients in secure mental health units, aiming to improve their lives through creativity.
Local artists and culture workers are wondering how the arena will impact the arts landscape, including museums and alternative spaces.