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Visit & Vote! 7th Annual Gingerbread Invitational: Environments Examined

The Gingerbread Invitational is made possible with support from Ellen and John O’Hare.

On view: November 20, 2021 – January 3, 2022

The Rockwell Museum is pleased to present the Seventh Annual Gingerbread Invitational − a fun, artful gingerbread competition for baking enthusiasts and community members of all skill levels.

The public is invited to see 9 spectacular gingerbread creations, created by community bakers. Visit today to cast your vote for the Community Choice Award in this year’s Gingerbread Invitational. This year, Rockwell programming and exhibitions revolve around the theme of Environments Examined. In this spirit, bakers designed a gingerbread creation inspired by the environments of our unique Finger Lakes region – considering the vistas, cityscapes, landmarks and local natural wonders!

Bring the whole family and explore using the Gingerbread Invitational Art Hunt! And, find special gingerbread-themed activities around the corner at the KIDS ROCKWELL Art Lab.

Images from 2020 Gingerbread Invitational

A League of Their Very Own, 1943
By Sarah J. Edwards

This gingerbread baseball field and dugouts, complete with bleachers and a score sign, are an homage to the All-American Girls professional baseball league of 1943. Pioneering women such as Dorothy “Dottie” Kamenshek are honored with candy baseballs and pretzel bats, a ribbon-candy roofed dugout, and Nilla wafer bases.

Any Person – Any Study:
Women of Cornell

By Marie Roller

The Jennie McGraw Clocktower and Uris Library Building are the center of this celebration of notable women of Cornell University. This celebration of women receiving an education highlights the life of Pearl S. Buck, ’25; Stephanie Rader, ’37; Joyce Brothers, ’47; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ’54; Toni Morrison, ’55; Janet Reno, ’60, Mae C. Jeminson, ’81; Makila James, ’79 & ’82; and Gabrielle Giffords, ’96. This gingerbread masterpiece reminds us not to take our educational opportunities for granted!

Green Gables
By Gina Traylor, Mary Milano,
Lauren Milano and Ava Traylor

The Traylor-Milano family created a gingerbread respite in the shape of the home of Anne of Green Gables. Gina says that the peaceful happiness that you pick up on over and over in the story whenever she returns home from her adventures is something every child should be able to relate to. Crossing the threshold of her home was a return to a “wholesome, simple life…and the steadfast abiding love that was there for her.” This family hopes that Gingerbread Invitational guests this year will feel inspired to create a similar restful retreat in their own homes.

Mary Blair’s Village
By Teachers: Sarah Gerow and Nicole Walker
Students: Calia Windows, Kendall Nealy, Braelynn Howard, Brookelynn Willis and Natalie Clark

This whimsical creation honors the artistry of Mary Blair. Mary Blair was an influential female artist at Disney and did color styling for many popular animations including Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland. Blair was also a key contributor on the popular Disney ride, “It’s a Small World.” This gingerbread village celebrates that contribution with buildings of different architectural styles from all over the world.

The Old Woman Gets a Clue
By Graham Ottoson

This fun ode to “The Woman who Lived in a Shoe” is a playful celebration of Margaret Sanger and the work of Planned Parenthood. Graham is a gourd artist in Ithaca and found her gourd carving tools very useful during the process! The artist’s mother leafleted for Planned Parenthood with 4 children and a 5th on the way! The storybook gingerbread creation features an abundance of candy children, and two candy women in a deep and important discussion!

The Sky is NOT the Limit
By The Aguilar Family

This out-of-this-world gingerbread creation recognizes the first woman to command a Space Shuttle. It represents a model of the mission STS-93, which deployed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, commanded by Eileen Collins in 1999. The shuttle’s robotic arm extends to show Eileen in her space suit. This gingerbread creation honors women in the STEM fields.

Who Says the Sky is the Limit?
Eileen Collins Commands the Discovery

By Leah & David Sorensen

This edible ode to Eileen Collins depicts her ground-breaking first flight in 1995. The orbiter Discovery, rendered here in gingerbread, was the first space shuttle to be piloted by a woman. Eileen Collins is a local hero born in Elmira, NY. She broke barriers by not only becoming a woman astronaut, but by serving as the commander of several space missions in the 1990s.

Zaha Hadid: The First Woman to Design an American Art Museum

The designer and creator of this colorful gingerbread structure is an architect herself. She looks up to Zaha Hadid as the first woman to design an American art museum! Molly attended architecture school in Cincinnati, and so is familiar enough with the Hadid building to recreate it perfectly in an edible format. This gingerbread representation of the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center has a colorful twist – Molly used bright icing in warm colors to really highlight the design.

How It Works

  • Interested individuals/teams must submit their application, including a design sketch, by Wednesday, October 20, 2021. It’s important to follow all of the size and materials specifications outlined in the “Rules and Application” document. Selected artists will be notified on Friday, October 22. 
  • Up to 12 submissions will be selected to be featured in the Gingerbread Invitational. Each artist/team will then have approximately 1 month to create their design and drop it off at The Rockwell Museum on the designated date.
  • At drop-off, each team will be awarded a $50 honorarium in the form of a VISA gift card to help compensate them for their materials.
  • Throughout the exhibition, visitors to The Rockwell will vote on their favorite gingerbread creations – the winner of the Community Choice Award will be announced toward the end of the exhibition.


  • All participants will receive thank-you honorariums in the form of a $50 VISA gift card, plus swag bags featuring gifts from the Museum Store and ceramic medallions created by local artist Colleen McCall.
  • Community Choice Award Winner – $500 + Ceramic Trophy by Colleen McCall

Past Exhibitions + Winners

Gingerbread Invitational 2020: Advancing Women

Community Choice Award: Graham Ottoson | “The Old Woman Gets a Clue”

Gingerbread Invitational 2019: My Dream Home
Photo Album

Community Choice Award: Lindsay Traver | “Tudor Revival”

Gingerbread Invitational 2018: Fantastical Future 
Photo Album

First Place: Gina Traylor, Lauren Milano, Mary Milano | “Wegmans 2116”
Second Place: Tuscarora Elementary Art Club | “The Future of Addison CSD”
Third Place: Kristen Merritt, Amanda Gantert, Christopher Knitter | “Civic Center on the Hill”
Community Choice Award: Tuscarora Elementary Art Club | “The Future of Addison CSD”

Gingerbread Invitational 2017 
Photo Album

First Place: Ryan Anderson, in partnership with Card Carrying Books and Gifts | Susan B. Anthony House, Rochester, NY
Second Place: LaDonna Costello, Eldridge Park Carousel of Elmira, NY
Third Place: Kristen Merritt, Christopher Knitter, Amanda Gantert | Elmira Heights Theater
Community Choice Award: Ryan Anderson, in partnership with Card Carrying Books and Gifts | Susan B. Anthony House, Rochester, NY

Gingerbread Invitational 2016
Photo Album

First Place: Ann Cady, Colleen McCall, and Martha Easton | Mark Twain Study, Elmira, NY
Second Place: Wegmans Bakery | “Heart of Corning” – Centerway Square
Third Place: Barbara Mack of Corning Pie Works | Corning Fire Department
Community Choice Award: Ann Cady, Colleen McCall, and Martha Easton | Mark Twain Study, Elmira, NY

Gingerbread Invitational 2015
Photo Album

First Place: Amber Colby of ‘Cuse Cakes | Historic Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse 
Second Place: LaDonna Costello | Watkins Glen State Park South Pavilion
Third Place: Emily Elizabeth Smith, Tiffany Williams, Jessi Moore, Mandy Kritzeck and Alexandra Ruggiero | First Presbyterian Church in Bath, NY. 
Community Choice Award: LaDonna Costello | Watkins Glen State Park South Pavilion


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