Local artists fight hunger with Empty Bowls charity event

Friday, April 25, 2014 | 9:39 p.m. CDT; updated 2:39 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 6, 2014
The Empty Bowls event was held Friday at the Balsamo Warehouse in Columbia. Ceramics aficionados were asked to donate to charity in exchange for a student-made bowl of their choosing and soup inside it offered at the event.

COLUMBIA — Hundreds of empty ceramic bowls varying in size and shape, color and texture were laid on tables inside the Balsamo Warehouse.

Local educators, artists, students and residents perused the selection, holding the artwork in their hands, admiring the details and deciding which bowl to choose.

The warehouse hosted Empty Bowls on Friday evening, an event based on an international grassroots movement aimed at fighting hunger. Attendees made suggested donations of around $10, chose ceramic bowls handmade by local artists and then picked a soup: chicken and dumplings, black-eyed peas and ham or minestrone. Proceeds benefited Loaves and Fishes, a local soup kitchen.

Miranda Schuster, a graphic design student at Columbia College, decided on the chicken and dumplings. "It's very good," she said. "Very good."

She picked her bowl because she liked the glossy white surface. It's simple, she said.

The event was co-organized by Bo Bedilion, an assistant professor of art at Columbia College. Bedilion made more than 200 bowls for the event.

He participated at an Empty Bowls event in Manhattan, Kansas, once and has been trying to organize one in Columbia for awhile, he said.

He was approached by Valerie Wedel, an adjunct professor of visual art at Missouri Valley College, who wanted to help a student fulfill a service learning requirement. Wedel ended up helping to organize the event and made about 45 bowls herself.

Mike Seat, just like Schuster, went with the chicken and dumplings. Seat selected his bowl because he liked the iron rust color that lined the lip and the blue lines etched inside the white interior surface.

It's a good cause, Seat said. "You get to look at the beautiful pottery, have a meal, help out others and take home a great piece of art."

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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