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The Coast News

Feast: The Art of Playing with Your Food at the New Children’s Museum

David Boylan

Wobbleland by Marisol Rendon
Wobbleland by Marisol Rendon is part of the FEAST exhibition at The New Children’s Museum photo courtesy Kerri Fox

It seems that young kids these days know way more about food and all things culinary than I ever did at that age. It makes sense with the foodie culture being so present in our society and I’m sure the fact that they have foodie parents helps also. When Kerri Fox, the Director of Marketing and Communications at the New Children’s Museum in San Diego told me about this really cool new exhibit they have that combines food and art, I thought it would be worth sharing with Coast News readers who could easily ride the Coaster or Amtrak to downtown San Diego to the museum and make a day of it.

The interactive exhibition is called Feast: The Art of Playing with Your Food. And it features 13 new artist installations and 8 other projects that will allow visitors of all ages to sink their teeth into unique, highly engaging, multi-sensory experiences. Feast will examine our relationship to food and eating in inventive and unexpected ways. All the artwork for Feast is being created expressly for this exhibition. Each piece was selected because of its entertaining engagement possibilities: children and adults will be able to climb and swing through an orange grove that responds to visitors’ touch with sound, drive kid-sized food trucks, jump and balance their way through an enormous, bulbous food jumpy, and much more.

Artists have used food as artistic inspiration for hundreds of years, and today the subject is a tool for artists to talk about community, sustainability and the environment, family traditions, and health. Feast will encourage families to dig into all of these topics through active play and art-making opportunities. In addition to providing physical experiences, Feast will stimulate thinking and offer educational opportunities for both families and school groups through their educational resources. Feast will also underscore the importance of open-ended play and multi-level learning so there is something for every creative appetite.

Some of my favorites in the exhibition include Food Truckin' by Jason Torchinsky. Food Truckin’ lets visitors customize their own food delivery vehicles and explore the processes involved in food production, transportation and distribution.

Sound Kitchen by Ross Karre is another cool sounding one. It’s an interactive studio where you can play, sing and record your own musical creations. Part kitchen and part recording studio, the hybrid space designed by artist and musician Ross Karre includes musical instruments cleverly made from everyday kitchen appliances and utensils along with iPads with recording apps, professional sound equipment, Theremin, microphones, dining room table and musician photographs. Skip the kids; I want to play in this one. I made this for you from Leah Rosenberg creates a festive environment mimicking a professional bakery and cake shop where visitors can sculpt treats out of clay. It includes custom wood baking tools, custom-designed aprons, recipe cards, wood cake stands and baking racks Wobbleland by artist Marisol Rendon is an active space for toddlers (four years and under), in which they can play with their food. Just think, a place where playing with food is encouraged. I’m wondering if that includes a bit of plate licking…sorry, had to throw that in. Stacked Stories comes from third year Woodbury University School of Architecture students under the direction of Stan Bertheaud. This library offers visitors a quiet place to relax and explore the infinite possibilities that books and quiet time can present. Coming from a family of readers, this one really appeals to me.

The Garden Project is collaboration from Urban Plantations and Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects. It’s a demonstration space that is also artfully designed, featuring seasonal edible plants, as well as sculptural elements incorporated into the planting areas. This makes total sense for kids who do not have access to gardens to be able to see one up close.

There is a fabulous evening event on Saturday, October 12 geared towards adults called Wonderland. Guests will their way through all three art-filled floors of the Museum. The culinary offerings for the evening will be donated, prepared, and served by renowned San Diego chefs and mixologists. Each delectable offering will be paired with and draw inspiration from the commissioned contemporary art in Feast. Music and entertainment will be featured throughout the Museum to complement the culinary experience. The grand opening of Feast for children and adults is Sunday, October 13 from 12-6pm and admission is free thanks to Target Corporation.

The New Children’s Museum is located at 200 West Island Avenue, San Diego, 92101. Reach them at 619.233.8792 or

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