Sponsored by the United Way of Marion County, an event on Sunday, March 16, will support the Sobrania Soup Opera, Mannington Food Pantry and the Salvation Army, providing needed nourishment for county residents. Empty Bowls Marion County also feeds the creative spirit of local potters.
The idea of the Empty Bowls event began in 1991 in Michigan as a way to raise funds to feed the hungry, increase awareness of hunger-related issues and advocate for arts education. There are more than 1,000 annual events worldwide. People buy tickets for the event, where they receive a meal and a hand-crafted bowl to keep and to remind them of the hungry in their community.
The Fairmont State University Department of Ceramics worked with two Fairmont State alumni to provide more than 600 handcrafted bowls for the event. Jeffrey Greenham, Art Department Coordinator and Associate Professor of Art, coordinated the effort at FSU. Two of his former students, Miles Holbert, owner of Mountain Creative in Fairmont, and Liz Urse, an art teacher at East Dale Elementary School, partnered with their alma mater to make and share bowls for the event. At his pottery painting business in Fairmont, Holbert sold bowls that people could glaze and donate to the event.
The following artists at FSU contributed to the effort: Drew Clutter, Catlin Clutter, Kat Stevens, Sarah Parsons, John- Edward Porter, Kitty Dixon, Kylie Ford, Erin McDaniel, Dr. Liz Melanson, Jennifer Boggess, Lynn Boggess, Jennifer Yerdon- LeJeune, Hayden Curtis, Dr. Janet Snyder, Brianna Poling, Kat Stevens, Liz Dang, Matt Nichols, Eric Dennison, Dr. Carolyn Crislip-Tacy and Greenham.
After finals week for the fall semester in December 2013, the group had a “Bowlathon” where potters came into the ceramic studio all week to throw bowls on the potters’ wheels, using about 1,000 pounds of clay. The volunteers worked during the winter break and then came back to glaze their bowls after they were fired in the kiln. Each bowl is a three-day process.
“It’s fun on our end to all get together for a good cause and create,” Greenham said.
Empty Bowls Marion County will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 16, in two locations: Blackshere Elementary School and East Dale Elementary School. Tickets are $15 for adults; the price includes a handcrafted bowl to keep and a meal. Tickets are $5 for children at the door, and that price does not include a bowl. Tickets can be purchased at the Sobrania Soup Opera, Mannington Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Connecting Link, Marion County Family Resource Network, Mountain Creative, United Way of Marion County and the Council of Churches. For more information, call (304) 366-4550 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.