By Karl Terry, PNT managing editor
Some like it hot — others just like it tasty. Either way, members of the Portales High School Art Club plan to have chili-lovers’ tastes covered at the fifth annual Chili Cookoff Feb. 22 at Portales High School Cafeteria.
The event started as a way for art students to help earn extra money for supplies in the department but has grown into a labor of love that showcases the students’ talent and dedication to art through bowls they make for the tasting and the PHS Art Show that is held during the event.
“We have no budget,’ art teacher Lou Sikes said. “We’re just trying to keep lab fees down to what people can afford here.”
Sikes says those fees run as high as $75 in other districts like Santa Fe. PHS charges a $15 and still has trouble making ends meet in purchasing materials and equipment, she says.
As a part of the $6 charge to get in and taste the chili, people will receive a clay bowl made by one of the art students.
PHS senior art student Bianca Tarango says she’s completed 30 bowls in preparation for the event — all with her own personal flare.
Pottery and other works of art will be exhibited with some items for sale.
“I like that people are able to buy what we make,” Bianca said. “People put their own personality on their bowls.”
For her, she says that’s big, bright colors with different designs and patterns. “Definitely not plain,” she says.
Her twin sister, Dalia Tarango’s tastes differ.
“Her’s are bigger, but mine are smaller and usually taller,” Dalia said.
Dalia says she’s been working with clay for the last two years but has been in art classes all through high school and also draws and paints. She says art class is the favorite part of the day for her. She says she’s even put some thought into possibly making art her career.
The girls and their instructor say the fundraiser plays an important role in helping to foster art appreciation at their school. The two seniors know that the money they earn at this year’s event will go to help students explore their artistic talents next year.
“Sometimes we’re not able to do the elaborate projects we would like because the art department budget is so tight,” Bianca said. “We try to earn as much as we can for those coming behind us.”
According to Sikes the event usually draws 10-15 teams that each pay a $25 entry fee and receive prizes donated by local merchants for the winners among three categories: Hottest, Mildest and Best Tasting. The public does the judging on a paper ballot as they sample the chili.
The deadline for chili cooks to sign up is this Friday. Cooks must do all their culinary magic on-site at the PHS cafeteria. They can start cooking at 2 p.m. to be ready to serve starting at 5 p.m. For details on entering a team call Sikes at 760-8569.
“It will be a good thing for a cold night and it’s fun for the kids,” Sikes said.