Since 1990 Empty Bowls has been a grassroots movement of artists in towns and cities around the world helping fund food banks in their local communities. Empty Bowls event organizers’ efforts, in partnership with other nonprofits, businesses and citizens, have raised and distributed funds worldwide to help stamp out hunger. “Think globally, act locally, change the world” is their goal.
Prescott citizens have been supporting our own Empty Bowls movement since 1997. Prescott Empty Bowls is organized by the Prescott Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation (GPUUC).In 2020, despite the pandemic and social distancing concerns, the event was held in the GPUUC parking lot, netting a record $21,000 to local food banks. You can find a list of beneficiaries on the Prescott Empty Bowls website (see below).
Laura Bloomenstein has been teaching ceramics at Yavapai College for over 20 years, and supporting Empty Bowls since about 2000. Students in the ceramics program as well as experienced artists from the community are invited for an entire Saturday to make bowls. This is not intended to be a teaching day, and in the past Laura has offered a noncredit class to people who want to learn how to make a basic bowl.
Two weeks after the bowls are made, people are invited back to glaze them. Often novice ceramicists come to the college studio on glazing day. Laura and advanced students help volunteers through the glazing process by creating an assembly line of finished bowls, then teaching techniques like waxing or dipping glaze. Volunteers and students get to switch jobs until all the bowls are glazed. A few days later volunteers unload and box the bowls in time for the Empty Bowls event. Typically students, volunteers, and community artists at the college make around 500 ceramic bowls for the event.
Prescott Area Woodturners
Along with ceramic bowls, Empty Bowls typically has wooden bowls handcrafted and donated by the Prescott Area Woodturners (PAW),a nonprofit dedicated to informing, educating and fostering the art and craft of woodturning for its members, educational institutions and the general public. Members typically hone their turning skills by working with individuals more skilled than themselves in a mentoring program. Members enjoy sharing their skills and talents through monthly demonstrations of their techniques during meetings.
PAW has been donating wooden bowls to Empty Bowls for several years, creating quite a fan base. Many people, including myself, specifically look for uniquely crafted wooden bowls at the events. PAW donated over 130 bowls in 2020, and members expect to create as many for 2021.
Greg and the Gringos
Greg Arriola has been performing at Prescott’s Acker Music Festival since 1993. He formed Greg and the Gringos in2005 and has been going strong through various members and guest performers ever since. The current lineup includes Greg Arriola on acoustic guitar and vocals, vocalist Colleen Tretton, Paul Spradlin on lead guitar and vocals, Jimmy Frett on bass, percussionist Don Adams, and Doug Keller on keyboards and vocals.
Last year Greg and Colleen wrote and recorded a song specifically for Empty Bowls. “This event has always been close to my heart. The song was created to capture not only the cause but all the people that come together to make it happen. It was an honor for both of us to be asked to create this. For all of you and the cause, thank you!” said Colleen.
To check out the song follow the YouTube link on the Empty Bowls site (see below). Greg and the Gringos will be performing on the Courthouse Square during the Empty Bowls event.
Other organizations supporting the event include Scout Troops 10, 7006 and 7106, Girl Scout Troop 579, and many local artists, restaurants, and businesses.
Empty Bowls 2021
Empty Bowls is coming back to the Courthouse Square and once again people will line up to select a locally handcrafted bowl and receive two servings of soups from 14 local restaurants. The event will be held on Sunday, September 12, 11am-2pm. You can purchase tickets ($20 per person) using cash or credit card (new this year!) at the event, or in advance via the website. There will also be a buy-it-now table of art and craft items as well as a raffle to support this fundraising event.
Following the in-person event there willalso be a 50/50 opportunity drawing and silent art auction online September5-19, also via the Prescott Empty Bowls site.