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2011 Spring Issue 7 (May 20, 2011)

Empty Bowls project draws large community participation

May 20, 2011
By Noelani Kirschner

Last Friday, the Art and Art History departments hosted their annual Empty Bowls event on the Bald Spot to raise money for the Northfield Community Action Food Shelf. Members from the Carleton community gathered on the Bald Spot to participate in the luncheon event and help support the charity by purchasing ceramic bowls and eating homemade soup.

The hand crafted bowls, student-made soup, and local bread provided the crowd with lunch and a good cause. In addition to raising money for charity, the event is supposed to raise hunger awareness. Said visiting assistant Professor of Studio Art Juliane Shibata, who helped organize the event within the Art Department,“[Empty Bowls’] main purpose is to help contribute to the Food Shelf and raise hunger awareness around campus.”

Students from the Art Department made over 600 ceramic bowls for the event. A suggested donation of $15-20 was asked for each bowl; all of which was donated to the Food Shelf. Any bowls that weren’t taken were donated for profitable gain to Potters for Peace, a non-profit organization that provides water filters for countries without clean water. “We had about 600 bowls at the start and less than 100 at the end,” said Assistant Art Professor Kelly Connole who also helped organize the event. “We raised $5754 for the Northfield Community Action Food Shelf and $400 for Potters for Peace.”

Many student organizations, Student Houses, and individual students contributed to the event by making food for the lunch. Houses such as F.I.S.H House, Farm House, and Canoe House made a variety of different vegetarian soups or hearty chilis to supply the crowd with a nutritious lunch. Other student organizations, like the CSA, provided food titled in affiliation to their group, like the “Senate Bean Soup.” Individual students volunteered to make their own special recipes as well. The contributions of these Carls, in tandem with the students from the Art department, helped make the event an enjoyable experience for those who attended and helped.

The sense of community fostered by the event helped students and faculty alike gather to reflect on how hunger is prevalent across America, and in towns such as Northfield, as well as in third world countries. Religion Professor Mike McNally has attended the event since it started at Carleton. “It’s one of my favorite events here,” he said. “I think it’s a really cool thing.” Professor Connole agrees. “The handmade bowl that participants take away from the event can be used over and over again- each time reminding the user of the ‘truly’ empty bowls in the world,” she said. “I think this is a beautiful and powerful metaphor.”

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