Awareness through art — the mission of Empty Bowls

January 1, 2019 | 3:00 am

Updated January 1, 2019 | 10:05 am

2018 recipients accepting a donation from Empty Bowls. | Photo submitted

On Saturday, Jan. 5, local artists and community members are invited make a soup bowl for the Owensboro Empty Bowls project to be sold at the main fundraiser in April.

Empty Bowls is a nationwide project, and in 2019 will become an international project. The idea behind Empty Bowls varies from community to community across the United States, but the main goal is to have bowls made by potters and community members and then, at the annual fundraiser, guests choose a bowl to keep as a reminder of of all of the empty bowls in the world. The bowls are purchased through a ticket purchase for the main event in April.

According to Tina Taylor, an Empty Bowls committee member, the event began in 2007 when Brescia University art teacher Steve Driver brought the program to Owensboro. This year, the April event, tentatively scheduled for the 23rd, will return to Brescia and be held in the new gymnasium. Taylor said it has outgrown previous sites.

Saturday’s community bowl-making event at Brescia begins at noon and will run for about four hours. Professional potters will be on site to help volunteers build a bowl, although it is suggested that participants are at least five years old and accompanied by an adult who is willing to help.

All bowl-making events are open to the public and there is no charge.

According to Taylor, the clay and materials are provided, but because the bowls are being made for a charity event, they can’t be taken home.

“But you can personalize your bowl and then buy a ticket to the event and try to find your bowl,” Taylor said.

The fundraising event in April donates 100 percent of the proceeds to a soup kitchen or pantry in our community. A meal of soup and bread is served and last year, Empty Bowls of Owensboro raised over $8,500, which was donated to Breckenridge Street UMC to purchase meats and fresh produce to use in their soup kitchen.

A silent auction is also held at the April event, and the Empty Bowls depends on the community donations to make it successful.

“Last year the community really went above and beyond,” Taylor said. “Feeding the hungry seems to be universal…everyone you talk to seems to agree that no one should be left to go hungry.”

As a smaller charity, Empty Bowls is not attached to a particular church or organization, so donations are appreciated at the bowl-making events that are hosted throughout the year, Taylor said.

Individuals have also hosted events in their studios to raise money for Empty Bowls. For example, Claudia Overstreet in Ohio County hosted a free event in November.

Taylor became involved after her church was the recipient of the funds raised.

“A group of us attended the event,” Taylor said. “It just moved me. I had never been before and I loved the idea of it so much that I walked up to a committee member and asked if I could get involved. I’ve been on the committee ever since and I love it.”

Community members who are interested in donating to or becoming involved with Empty Bowls of Owensboro can contact Taylor at [email protected] or by visiting the Empty Bowls of Owensboro, Kentucky Facebook page.

They are currently looking for planning committee members and soup donations. Churches and organizations also provide the soup, but they are looking for more as they have moved the event to a larger space.

“We are a group of like minded individuals who all share a heart for giving back and feeding the hungry through the arts,” Taylor said.

Ticket prices have not been set for the April event, but organizers hope to have that set soon.

“It’s a lot of fun and a great way to give back to the community,” said Taylor. “It’s also a great way to get kids involved and show them the value of helping others.”

iArt Studios will be hosting a bowl making day for Empty Bowls at 6 p.m. on Jan. 25. iArt is located at 603 Park Plaza Drive.

January 1, 2019 | 3:00 am

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