The Lied Art Gallery hosted the Empty Bowls event this week to raise awareness of hunger in the Omaha Community.
Empty Bowls is a nationwide project that was started as a grassroots movement by a group of ceramicists in Michigan. Amy Nelson, an associate professor in Creighton’s Fine and Performing Arts department, has organized the event every other year since bringing the idea to Creighton’s campus in 2006.
“The Creighton-sponsored Empty Bowls is simple: for $10 a person selects a one-of-a-kind handmade bowl made by members of the Creighton and Omaha communities, which entitles them to a complementary serving of soup and bread,” Nelson said. “The event is open to the public, so anyone can buy bowls, and there is no limit on the number of bowls an individual can purchase.”
On Monday evening, the event had a very successful turnout that consisted of students, Creighton faculty and members of the Omaha community. Each of the hundreds of bowls on display had a unique style, ranging from simplistic to abstract. The bowls created by preschoolers, with their bright colors and crude edges, were quite popular conversation pieces. Students from Duchesne Academy were present to wrap the bowls and distribute the food donated by Dixie Quick’s, a local restaurant famous for its home-cooked meals.
Nelson said the project has grown tremendously over the last four years. The bowl-making process originated as a class project for her intermediate and advanced ceramics students, and has evolved into a community effort. Doug Schroder, an associate professor in Creighton’s Fine and Performing Arts department and a part-time faculty member at Duchesne Academy, involved his high school ceramics students and preschool students in the event this year. Nelson said the combined efforts of the students and faculty have produced about 575 bowls, many of which were made in a 6-week period.
“The days that the preschool students came to my classroom was very cool,” Schroder said. “I paired each preschool student with one of my art students from the academy to make a bowl. The preschool kids were very excited to work with the older girls on the project.”
Dr. Erin Averett, an assistant professor of art history and the director of the Lied Art Gallery, said the event demonstrates the power of art in bringing attention to issues within the community. She said the Lied Gallery is ideal for spreading the message of hunger in Omaha because it has both a campus and a community appeal.
“We’re emphasizing the role the arts have in the community,” Averett said. “Service is an important part of Creighton and the event ties in with Creighton’s mission of raising awareness of social justice issues.”
The faculty involved in this event expects to raise a significant amount of money and will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to the Siena Francis House. Besides raising money, Nelson hopes the Empty Bowls project will also raise awareness of hunger in the area.
“I know that they [participants] will take away a one-of-a-kind piece of pottery that will hopefully serve as a reminder that they helped the fight against hunger right here in Omaha,” Nelson said.
The Lied Gallery will host the next Empty Bowls event in 2012. For more information on the Empty Bowls nationwide project, please visit www.emptybowls.net.