Empty Bowls and patrons fill CMAC for Charity

The Empty Bowls charity event returned to campus this year on April 10. Hosted by the Ceramic Designers Association at VWU, the event raised $20,000 to help feed the hungry. Virginia Wesleyan has hosted this event a total of 21 times throughout the years. 

The first Empty Bowls event took place in 2012, and since then has been successful in raising money to fight hunger all across the Virginia Peninsula. 

Professor Phillip Guilfoyle is in charge of ceramics classes at VWU, and thus plays a large role in the event each year.

A lot goes into producing the event,” said Guilfoyle. “Planning, bowl making, set up, and takedown. About 1,600 donated bowls were made for the event, mostly by local potters and woodturners. I just help with bowl production and firing and volunteer at the event.”

Most years students get involved with the event by creating bowls during class time or as an extracurricular activity. They then glaze the bowls and fire them in the new kiln on campus. Volunteers also come on campus to participate in these activities. 

When the event is going on, bowls are sold to attendees for a price of $25 or $10. It is a free event that is open to the public. 

The proceeds go towards the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia, Judeo-Christian Outreach Center, Help and Emergency Response (H.E.R.) Shelter, Oasis Social Ministries, Samaritan House and Union Mission.

Jackie Carmines, a senior at VWU, is currently taking ceramics classes. She witnessed much of the preparation going on and took an interest in the event. 

“It is great to see the connection between the arts and philanthropy here at the university,” said Carmines. “We do ceramic art because we like using our creative sides to make others happy and to express ourselves. It is beautiful to see how that can help people in need.”

This year at the event, there were roughly 30 to 40 bowls produced by the VWU campus community for sale at the event. 

According to Guilfoyle, there was much less participation by students in this year’s event compared to previous events. 

Students do a little for the event,” said Guilfoyle. “There were a few that came to volunteer during the bowl sale. While some bowls came from students I had two years ago, not many students stood up to make bowls to donate this time.”

Junior Anna Rogers is taking the ceramics course and loves the connection between the class and charity. 

“The bowls that are made for the Empty Bowls charity really helps our community by giving the opportunity to allow artwork made at school to give back to those in need,” said Rogers.

By Katie Yeager