Empty Bowls fundraiser set for April 12

| Contact: Jean Hardiman, University Relations Specialist, 304-696-6397

Marshall University’s College of Arts and Media joins local nonprofits and volunteers to host its 16thAnnual Empty Bowls fundraising event from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, April 12, at First Presbyterian Church, 1015 5th Ave.

Community members are invited to the church to purchase bowls created by Marshall University art students and other local volunteers. Bowls will be sold for $15 each, with proceeds going to the Facing Hunger Food Bank. With their purchase of a bowl, guests also can enjoy a bowl of soup, donated by area volunteers and restaurants, and participate in a silent auction, also benefiting the food bank. Cash and cards will be accepted at the event.

"As Empty Bowls has been a partnership effort with the food bank for sixteen years, we see a variety of results from that partnership," said Cynthia Kirkhart, executive director of the Facing Hunger Food Bank. "First and foremost, the connection of the students’ artwork and academic pursuits to provide the bowls is a wonderful symmetry of academics, art and service. I am always thrilled to provide the students with the total number of meals that their class production requirement provides.

"As an example, the first-year students make 20 bowls each, representing 2,250 meals. The advanced students make 40 bowls each, and that student is providing 4,500 meals with that number of bowls. Then you add the event itself, with the community coming out and purchasing the bowls and sitting together with a simple meal of soup, bread and a drink, understanding the same impact on hunger that their purchase is making to those needing hunger relief."

The class for which Marshall students create the bowls is about both art and community involvement.

"Empty Bowls is an opportunity for Marshall University art students to understand how their art can make a positive impact on their community," said Frederick Bartolovic, associate professor of ceramics and organizer of the event. "It is challenging sometimes for artists to get the opportunity to make such a direct impact on their communities. As students form the shape of each bowl, they know that single piece will help to feed over 100 people."

When they begin the semester, most of the students have never thrown a bowl before, he said.

"The learning curve is steep," Bartolovic said. "Yet with each bowl they throw, they hone their skills and the bowls get amazingly good. The Empty Bowls assignment comes about halfway through the semester, so by that point, my students are already making their best work."

This event also gives students the joy of seeing people buy their art, he said.

"Once the day comes, the bowls are set out and each student gets to see people interested in their bowls and the happiness that can come from a handmade object being introduced into someone’s life," Bartolovic said. "In this way, the benefits are twofold. It’s an amazing experience that takes a semester of hard work, but it results in students who become engaged with their community, literally in a hands-on way. That is inevitably a fulfilling and rewarding experience that allows young artists to be community activists, directly demonstrating how art can make a positive influence on our community."

For more information about the event, contact Bartolovic by e-mail at bartolovicf@marshall.edu or by phone at 304-696-2902.