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Empty Bowls raise funds

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Feb. 13, 2011 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 12, 2011 at 8:13 p.m.

Victoria College Assistant Professor of Art Debra Chronister, co-chair for this year's Empty Bowls event, eats soup from her bowl in the Victoria College Student Center. Area restaurants donated soups for the event.

EMPTY BOWLS PROJECTEmpty Bowls is community fundraising event that raises money by selling handcrafted ceramics.

More than $55,000 has been raised for Crossroads charities since the event started 7 years ago.

567 handmade bowls were available for purchase for $15, which included soup, bread and a drink.

Empty Bowls sponsors included Breaktime, Chick-fil-A, Fossati's Delicatessen, Furr's Family Dining, Golden Corral, The Grapevine Cafe, Halepaska's Bakery, Huvar's Artisan Market and Catering, Jason's Deli, Long Leaf Coffee Company and Bakery, The Main Course, Performance Food Group, Red Lobster, Rosebud Fountain and Grill, Subway (VC Location), Toscana Artisan Bakery and Bistro, Victoria Country Club.

Ceramics enthusiasts were offered complimentary lunch with each handcrafted bowl purchase Sunday afternoon at the 7th Annual Victoria Empty Bowls Project.

Held in the Victoria College student center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event aimed to sell 567 handcrafted ceramic bowls for $15 each, donating proceeds to four local charities and the Victoria College Empty Bowls Visual Arts Scholarship.

The purchase included a bowl of soup, bread, and a drink donated by area restaurants and caterers.

"It's a neat cause, and I wanted to see all the beautiful pieces on display," Empty Bowl attendee Amy Leissner, said.

In addition to purchasing a ceramic, royal blue bowl, which she promptly filled with tortilla soup, Leissner also purchased two handcrafted serving dishes.

"It was very good," Leissner said, describing the tortilla soup.

Among the soups available to event-goers were vegetable, clam chowder, chili, tortilla, chicken noodle, and vegetable beef.

Since the inaugural event seven years ago, Empty Bowls has collectively earned about $55,000 for local charities, according to Victoria College Associate Professor of Art and Empty Bowl co-chair, Debra Chronister.

"We're hoping to clear about $10,000 this year. I don't think we've ever cleared that much, but it would be a landmark year if we did," Chronister said.

In order to sell nearly 600 bowls at the event, Chronister's ceramics students created an assembly line during class and worked on each piece a little at a time.

"We used to have each student work on a bowl start to finish, but this way, the bowls are made faster," she said. "But that's what makes this event so meaningful, because it was a communal effort and this is a community event."

One of Chronister's students, Nick Heiling, who assisted with the assembly line, said he enjoys participating in the Empty Bowls event because, "It raises awareness of the ceramics community."

Other items available for purchase at Empty Bowls included a variety of dishes, vases, cups and display pieces.

Imperfect ceramic items could be thrown and smashed for less than $5, which also helped raise money for the event.

Recipients of the funds include Christ's Kitchen, Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, Victoria Christian Assistance Ministry and Victoria County Senior Citizens Center.

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