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The Art of Service: Crafting Community and Compassion at Viewpoint's Empty Bowls Open Studio
The Art of Service: Crafting Community and Compassion at Viewpoint's Empty Bowls Open Studio

The ceramics room is usually bustling with students engrossed in diverse projects throughout the year. However, on Wednesday, January 10, faculty and staff enthusiastically participated in the creative process, joining forces to craft bowls for a charitable cause.

Nell Yates, Ceramics Teacher and Visual Arts Interim Department Chair, highlighted the significance of the open studio day, stating, “This is a really great opportunity for the Viewpoint community to feel a little bit of involvement with this project. Empty Bowls, in general, is something that's done all over the world.”

Empty Bowls, a global grassroots movement of artists addressing hunger, originated over three decades ago. Introduced at Viewpoint in 2017 by Yates, the visual arts department and our students in CORE (Community OutReach for Everyone) collaborate annually to create bowls in preparation for the main event. They also coordinate which non-profit organization will receive the proceeds from the fundraising efforts.

“This year, all of the money that we raise, with tickets priced at $10 each, will go to the West Valley Food Pantry,” added Yates.

Alongside the open studio, where faculty, staff, and non-ceramic students dedicate their time to the cause, there is an additional commitment from Upper School ceramic students. These students are required to help create bowls during the four-month preparation period.

“It is integrated into the curriculum, and students receive grades for their participation. However, students also have the option to go beyond the classroom,” said Yates. “They can come in outside of class to craft extra bowls, earning service hours necessary for fulfilling their graduation requirement.” 

Traditionally filled with soup or chili, the student committee guiding the process made a significant decision two years ago to switch to ice cream, a choice that proved to be popular. Last year marked a milestone, with a record 250 bowls crafted, filled, and enjoyed for a good cause.

“I just love when the kids gather around on the day of the event, pointing at bowls and saying, 'You picked my bowl' or 'I know who made that.',” said Yates. “The beautiful thing about clay is that it lasts forever, turning these event-crafted items into permanent memories for people."

The Empty Bowls fundraiser is scheduled for March 21, and tickets will be available two weeks prior to the event. Save the date to support this meaningful cause and enjoy a unique blend of creativity, community, and charitable giving.

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