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NEIGHBORS / SHORT TAKES : In Good Taste : Ventura artist Ron Walker's course combines form and food. Jello-O Jigglers give shape to Cubism.


But is it art? And does it taste good?

The answer to both of these questions will be yes if Ventura artist Ron Walker has anything to do with it. From the guy who brought us "Basic Drawing for Klutzes" and "A Humorous Approach to Modern Art" comes an intriguing morsel called "The Taste of Art."

From any other instructor one might assume by the course title that this class, being offered through the Ventura Recreation Department, is straightforward art appreciation. But when Walker is involved, it's an altogether different story.

As the course description explains, students "will learn about a different art movement every week while producing an edible artwork . . . " Walker designed the course with help from his wife and a friend.

"The main idea with the foods," he said, "is to make approaching the forms and the theories more palatable."

But is it art? Does art ever jiggle?

Walker said the first class project will be to make some cubistic Jell-O Jigglers.

"We'll be doing it in neat colors, developing it, talking about Cubism, and slurping up the Jell-O," said Walker. "Cubists actually didn't use cubes. Originally the name was used as an insult toward them."

Other assignments:

Baked Bananas for the study of Dadaism: "Dadaism is somewhat an irrational approach for rational ideas," said Walker. "There's no real reason for the baked bananas, but it seemed rational."

Surrealistic Ice Cream Sundays: "I think we're giving a little bit of credit to Salvadore Dali's melted clocks and watches," Walker said.

Abstract Expressionist Pizza: Walker said the colorful pie, loosely done, will emulate the brushwork of abstract painting.

Dirt Dessert for the Study of Earth Art: "Earth art originally developed as a protest to the power of galleries," Walker said. "People made giant works, using the Earth and moving tons and tons of stuff around, and figured there was no way galleries could sell it. . . . It started that way, but they found a way to market it." And what are the ingredients of a dirt dessert? Crushed Oreos and gummy worms mixed together in a flowerpot.

A couple of local notes for the start of the major league baseball season: Two Ventura County ballplayers have received praise in "Bill Mazeroski's Baseball '93" season preview publication.

Former Rio Mesa High School infielder Dmitri Young was listed among the top prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. David Lamb, a shortstop at Newbury Park High School, was ranked third in the magazine's list of the country's top high school prospects.

Saturday is the last day to sign up for Cal Lutheran University's third annual California Summer String Institute.

Between June and August, four of the world's top violin and bow builders/repairers will lead classes on their crafts. As you might guess, students are generally pretty serious about the subjects.

According to Denise Aiani, head of the university's Continuing Education Program, most students are either musicians or are involved in the violin repair business. Apparently they'll travel as far as necessary for the workshops. One will be visiting from Brazil, another from Alaska.

"We're the only place on the West Coast to have this," said Aiani.

More proof of the students' dedication: Aiani said students are encouraged to live on campus so they can work on their violins when not in class.

"Two years ago, a security guard came by at 3 in the morning and was worried because he saw a light on in the workroom. He had his gun drawn," said Aiani. The suspected thief turned out to be a dedicated student constructing his instrument.

FYI: Cost for each of the four weeklong workshops ranges from $285 to $400.

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