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Nov-11-2010 22:17printcomments

Dash for Empty Bowls Fundraiser at Willamette Art Center

Last year, the fundraiser generated $13,600 for MPFS, $1,600 more than the previous year

Empty Bowls and the Willamette Art Center

(Salem, Oregon) - When the doors open to Willamette Art Center on Saturday, Nov. 20, visitors will feast their eyes upon 1,000 handmade ceramic bowls that have been prepared all year long by 24 stalwart volunteers in preparation for Empty Bowls, an annual fundraiser benefiting Marion-Polk Food Share.

“Every year we make more bowls for food share. It’s amazing,” said WAC spokesperson Karin Putnam. “We want to be involved in giving back to our community. We feel really blessed at the center.”

Last year, the fundraiser generated $13,600 for MPFS, $1,600 more than the previous year. With those funds, the nonprofit regional food bank is in a better position to feed hungry people in Marion and Polk counties through its network of 91 member charities.

Empty Bowls has grown in popularity over the past eight years, so much so that enthusiasts start lining up an hour before opening time on Saturday. Between 10 a.m. and noon “it’s wild” and by 3 p.m. most of the bowls are sold, Putnam said. Last year, there were 70 to 80 bowls remaining for sale on Sunday.

Event hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 20th and if bowls remain, the sale will continue 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21st. Check the Willamette Art Center website for bowl availability after Saturday: The art center is at the corner of 17th Street and Silverton Road, enter the fairgrounds through Gate C.

Adding to the festive nature of the event, cookies and cider will be served and holiday music will fill the center.

In addition to bowls thrown, fired and glazed by the center’s regular volunteers who contributed more than 800 hours to the project, local potters including Craig Martell, Annie Stecker and Cheri Posedel have contributed to the bounty. Everything is food safe, dishwasher safe and can be heated in the oven, Putnam said. Prices range from $5 to $75.

While soup bowls of various sizes have been the mainstay of the sale, this year will feature more serve ware including flat pasta bowls, pie plates, candy dishes and items for cooking.

“It’s wonderful that we have so much support (from buyers),” Putnam said. “We hope we can keep up with the demand (in years to come).”

All labor is donated by artists and materials by Willamette Art Center. This year, Empty Bowls visitors will have an opportunity to help out with next year’s project by sponsoring materials and kiln operations. Donors can adopt a 50-pound box of clay for $20, enough to make about 30 bowls; a bisque kiln load for $50, and a glaze kiln load for $100, to help offset costs.

For information about Willamette Art Center, go online to or call (503) 365-3911.

Source: Marion-Polk Food Share

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