For the seventh consecutive year, Community Canvas is giving young artists at area elementary schools a chance to display their passion for healthy living and their talent for art.
A partnership between Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital and Lehigh Valley Art Spark – and in conjunction with the Kellyn Foundation – Community Canvas gives students at 14 schools the opportunity to create artwork based on healthy eating habits and all-around wellness.
To begin, Kellyn Foundation conducts a classroom program series in the schools. In these classroom sessions, we discuss the connection between good health and good nutrition through programs created especially for third, fourth and fifth graders. Students learn differences between fresh, healthy, whole food and drink compared to processed unhealthy products. Students also learn how to read food labels and find the amount of sugar and fat in products. In addition, students learn how to make the healthiest choices when they are out at restaurants or away from home with friends.
Following these presentations, children are asked to take home a packet of materials for their parents that explains Community Canvas. Parents also are asked for consent for their child to be considered as an artist contestant at an upcoming art event.
Once the classroom education has taken place, Lehigh Valley Art Spark conducts an assembly at the school where the students dance, play games and refresh the lessons learned. During the assembly, eight contestants are randomly selected for their school’s Community Canvas art event.
Fourteen Community Canvas preliminary art events will take place through April 2020, with the grand finale in May. Children of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) employees are not eligible to compete as artists.
Families and friends are encouraged to capture the excitement with photos at each Community Canvas preliminary event and to promote our local schoolchildren's talent by uploading them to social media using our official hashtag #CommunityCanvas.
Third and fourth grade students at several participating schools get even closer to their food by planting, growing and harvesting produce from their own school garden, creating a year-round healthy food experience.
Third and fourth grade students are challenged to change how they feel about foods, and shown how to teach their bodies to like healthier foods. Here's another trick – it works for adults too!
Allentown School District
Bethlehem School District
Easton Area School District
Whitehall-Coplay School District
Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, Kellyn Foundation and Buy Fresh Buy Local are partnering with neighborhood corner stores to make it easier for families to make healthy choices by offering affordable fresh, local produce.
At Community Canvas preliminary events, our artists are given a lunchbox full of art supplies and 45 minutes to create a piece of artwork based on what they’ve learned in the classroom and school assemblies. The artwork is then voted on by the audience to select two winners, who quality for the Grand Finale. The most important artistic talent needed is creativity and a passion for healthy living. Everyone who participates in a Community Canvas preliminary event gets a prize.
While the artists create their masterpieces, top chefs from local restaurants will be offering free and delicious healthy meal samples for everyone in attendance.
After the 14 preliminary events are completed, the work of all artists who did not advance to the Grand Finale will be entered into a Facebook poll so the public can select additional contestants to advance to the finale event.
Similar to the preliminary events, each artist at our Grand Finale will receive a mystery lunchbox of art materials and have 45 minutes to create their artwork based on a healthy theme. Audience members each get one vote to select an overall winner, who earns the opportunity to be featured in local media and on the LVHN website and in publications. In addition, the winner takes home a basket filled with brand new art supplies and gift certificates. Second and third place artists will also receive prizes.
Participating chefs compete in a “cook-off” by creating healthy dishes using three ingredients supplied by the Kellyn Foundation’s Eat Real Food Mobile Market. The winning chef will be voted on by the audience, including the child artists, and will be awarded the Reilly Children’s Hospital’s “golden spoon” trophy.
The Community Canvas program costs you nothing but your time and support for what we hope you’ll find to be a tasty and inspiring experience for your entire family. Artwork from all Community Canvas events can be seen at Reilly Children’s Hospital art galleries throughout LVHN facilities.
Adi McLean, a fourth-grader at Forks Elementary School in Easton, was crowned the overall champion Saturday in the sixth annual Community Canvas Grand Finale at Lehigh Valley Mall.
The 10-year-old McLean bested 20 other third-, fourth- and fifth-grade artists to take home the top prize in the competition which gave youngsters from 10 area elementary schools the chance to display their passion for healthy living and their talent for art.
Ariadni Chatzopoulos, 10, a fifth-grader from Shawnee Elementary School, was the runner up. Kadence Haspil, 9, a fourth-grader from Paxinosa Elementary School, placed third. Other participants in the grand finale were: Iyana Ebram, 9, and Zavier Washington, 8, third-graders from Mosser Elementary School; Ahmed Eltahhan, 9, and Joleeanis Olavarria, 8, third-graders from Sheridan Elementary School; Jahleel Garcia, 10, fifth-grader, and Jezalena Gunderman, 9, fourth-grader, from Zephyr Elementary School; Danna Gomez, 8, third-grader from Cheston Elementary School; Madelyn Kline, 10, fifth-grader, and Andrei Pacheco, 9, third-grader at Shawnee Elementary School; Sawyer Lamas, 8, third-grader, and Angela Strohl, 10, fifth-grader, Tracy Elementary School; Xabdiel Ortiz, 8, third-grader at Central Elementary School; Makenna Reichenbach, 9, Logan Tehonica, 8, and Vera Ayala, 8, third-graders at Steckel Elementary School; Arica, 8, and Elizabeth Sodtalbers, 8, third-graders at Paxinosa Elementary School; Pamela Szabuniewicz, 11, fifth-grader at Forks Elementary School.
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. Melissa Walsh, third-grade teacher at Paxinosa Elementary and last-minute chef fill-in, took home the top prize in the cooking competition. Sarah Hinsch from Greenmouth Juice Bar and Café in Easton and Allentown, and Michele Reber from Healthy You Café in Center Valley and Enola, also competed. Each chef was tasked with incorporating oats, almonds and grapes into their snacks.