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‘Empty Bowls’ art fund raiser to benefit Harry Chapin

By Staff | Nov 24, 2012



On Saturday, Dec. 1, a unique local benefit lets you help feed the hungry, gives you a great lunch and you get to leave with a unique pottery piece donated by a Lee County School student – all for a mere $10,

The fifth annual Empty Bowls event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers. The popular fund raiser will feature 700 handmade ceramic bowls created and donated by Lee County students from 18 schools. Lunch will be served in the bowls by local celebrities, with a great side of bread from Panera Bread Cafe.

The donation entitles participants to select a bowl and receive a soup selection from one of 10 local restaurants. Not only would the selected bowl be a wonderful, useful item in the home, but the purchase of an additional bowl would also make an excellent gift, officials said.

North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts art teacher Theresa West-Taylo will again take part.

“This is my sixth year demonstrating pottery as well as coordinating this event into a class project,” she said. “For me, it is part if our school giving back to the community; each of my students helped to create a bowl and then donate that bowl to the event.”

Of their final works, she said, “They are awesome. Some are wheel thrown, some slab built that look like giant flowers in the tradition of artist Georgia O’Keeffe.”

She said that by creating the bowls for the charitable event, they not only learned about pottery and charitable giving, but art history as well.

“We do discuss in class need in the community, and how so many people have given to this school so our students can participate in the arts and how can give back.”

Of the event, she said, “It’s a beautiful day, a large crowd, a very pleasant day. We have live entertainment on stage as well. People bring lawn chairs, sit on the grass and watch the entertainment, while having a delicious bowl of soup from Panera Bread.”

It is symbolic of the hunger plight, she said. “Area artists also donate art for a silent auction so there are high caliber ceramic pieces available there as well.”

She also donates pieces each year.

“We’re very proud of students that participate; it’s a worthy cause,” said Academy Principal Dr. Douglas Santini. “To me, it really gets the kids involved in the community.”

Participating restaurants to date include Jason’s Deli, Vegetarian Vegetable; University Grill, Pasta Fagioli; Prawnbroker, Manhattan Clam Chowder; Panera Bread, Broccoli Cheddar; Oasis, Chicken Noodle; LaMotta’s, Minestrone; Mel’s Diner, Turkey Noodle; Christof’s on McGregor, Acorn Squash; McGregor Caf, Lentil; and Sweet Tomatoes, Chicken Pot Pie.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank solicits, collects and stores quality food for distribution to families in need through a network of 160 nonprofit agencies in Lee, Collier, Hendry, Charlotte and Glades counties that provide food to more than 30,000 people monthly. More than 1 million pounds of food are distributed by the Harry Chapin Food Bank monthly.

For every dollar donated, about $6 in food value goes back to the community. In the past fiscal year, the Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed more than 15 million pounds of food and other grocery items valued at more than $24.9 million. This is roughly the equivalent of 12.5 million meals to people in need.

Alliance for the Arts is at 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers. For information, go to harrychapinfoodbank.org or call 334-7007.

The school also is preparing for their annual special production of Tchaikovsky’s two-act ballet, The Nutcracker.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

Chorus, jazz band, and orchestra program students will perform holiday favorites in the lobby before the program and during intermission.