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Clay bowls ready for first kiln firing
SUBMITTED by Brenda Pittman

For the fourth time since 2010, the Newark Art Department has embarked upon another ambitious and caring “Empty Bowls” project that will benefit the Newark Food Closet.

Since 2010, the “Empty Bowls” soup, bread buffet and silent art and craft auction events at NHS raised more than $16,000 for the local food closet.

“Empty Bowls,” is a grassroots movement that various organizations, including schools, have been involved in since 1990 to help raise money each year to support food banks and soup kitchens throughout the nation in an effort to fight hunger.

This year’s March 30th soup and bread buffet and silent art auction will be the final step in a lengthy project in which many students, staff and others create ceramic bowls to help prepare for the event.

For a modest, $10 monetary donation, the bowls are selected by people attending the simple soup and bread dinner with the hope that each will serve as a reminder that others may not be able to afford to put food on their table and in their own bowls.

NHS 10th grader Danika Ritz hand building a bowl
NHS art teacher Courtney Dentel will be the overseer of the fundraising event again this year.
“Participating in this service learning project allows students to create art that makes a difference in the lives of many of our community members,’’ Dentel said. “What’s more, students who have previously participated in this project when they were younger have asked if we could do it again because they loved doing it so much.”
Citing January 2016 through December 2016 statistics, Newark Food Closet Co-coordinator Joanne DePauw said:
  • Food was given out 1,100 times to households in Newark, East Palmyra and Port Gibson during that time period. 
  • Of that number, food was given to 1,639 adults ranging in age from 18-64; 163 senior citizens, age 65 and over; and 1,022 children, who ranged in age from 1 to 17. 
DePauw noted that the Food Closet received around $17,000 in grant money and donations in 2016, but spent “just under $17,000.”
“So it is really important that people in our community support this wonderful Empty Bowls event,’’ she said. “The money raised for the Newark Food Closet truly helps feed the hungry and needy people in our area.”
Dentel agreed.
“When JoAnne recently contacted me and asked me if we were going to do the “Empty Bowls” project this year, it told me how much of an impact we have made in previous years in helping such a worthy cause,’’ she said.
Preparation for the March “Empty Bowls” event involves a lot of work and a lot of students.

This year:
  • NHS Pottery and Advanced Pottery students will create about 200 of the bowls on a wheel or by hand building. 
  • Other high school art classes _ Studio in Art, Studio in Crafts, and some advanced art classes _ will make about 110 bowls. 
  • Some of Lisa Stringer and Amanda Kessler’s Newark Middle School art students will make about 100 bowls. 
  • NHS computer graphics students will design tee shirts, event programs, posters and tickets for the “Empty Bowls” event. Lincoln and Perkins School students will make placemats for the event. 
  • The NHS Art Club will make about 20 bowls, create some silent art auction pieces and will help Amy O’Connor, who teaches art at Kelley School, and Dawn Schwind who teaches art at Perkins and Lincoln Schools, host family bowl painting nights March 2nd and 8th at NHS . 
  • Dentel will also host a bowl-painting party for faculty and staff during Wellness Day March 16th. More information on all three events will be forthcoming. 
NHS 10th grader Alyson Pero working on wheel thrown bowl
In preparation for the last two “Empty Bowls” events, many community members and business owners graciously donated money and a variety of supplies like bottled water, Styrofoam bowls, paper coffee cups, coffee, tea, sugar, creamer, plastic spoons, napkins and more for the culminating event. Dentel is hoping there will be a similar, generous outpouring this year.

Local artists and craft makers are also being encouraged to donate their creations to the silent art and craft auction, with all proceeds benefiting the Newark Food Closet.

Tickets for the “Empty Bowls” event will be $10 per person.

Dentel also noted volunteers are welcome to help at the Empty Bowls event and should contact her as soon as possible at Courtney.dentel@newarkcsd.org.

Anyone who would like more information on the event should visit the Newark Art Department Facebook page and read about the event at https://www.facebook.com/pages/EMPTY-BOWLS-Newark-Art-Department/335314601127?ref=hl


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