Artistic expression for philanthropy

By: Annie Sragner, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

Towson University is providing students and the community an opportunity to combine artistic expression with philanthropy.

“We provide the clay and we teach them how to make the bowls whether they are hand making them or throwing them on a potter’s wheel,” visiting assistant professor Rich Holt said.

Empty Bowls, which this year will be put on by the Towson ceramics department and St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, allows participants the opportunity to come to a workshop where they can create clay bowls for charity.

“We fire them, we glaze them and we deliver them to St. Vincent de Paul when they have their Empty Bowls event on March 28 at the Timonium Fairgrounds,” Holt said.

The bowls will be donated to St. Vincent de Paul, an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure those impacted by poverty have to skills and resources to achieve their full potential.

“At the fairgrounds event there may be 3,000 bowls, so [participants] can choose to come to the workshop and have the experience, but they can also purchase tickets to attend the event,” Holt said.

The workshop costs $15 to learn how to make a bowl, and all the proceeds go to St. Vincent de Paul and the charities they will donate to.

“[Anyone] can come in and experience something else, even if they are not art students. General students from the campus can learn a process just from attending one of these events and do some good for our community,” Holt said.

Participants have about an hour and a half to make as many bowls as they can. The volunteers who are running the event, in this case Towson University ceramics department and those from Baltimore Clayworks, will finish up the pieces for them.

Senior sculpture major and co-president of the Art History Club Kelly Bryan will also be getting her hands dirty at the event.

“Towson has not been as involved in previous years as they are now. We have always collected and donated to Empty Bowls, but this semester we got more involved with Mary Cloonan at Baltimore Clayworks and they are actually hosting the event at Towson,” Bryan said. “I am gathering people from the Art History Club and anyone else interested and we are going to be helping during the event and making bowls while helping other people.”

Senior ceramics major Meg Gallagher also plans to do her part by making several bowls for the charity, and is thankful that Towson is providing her this opportunity to help her community.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses of your everyday life as a student but it’s really important to step back and help those who really need it,” Gallagher said. “By simply making a couple of bowls, you can help families who are hungry and homeless.”

The workshops will be held twice per day from 1:00-2:30 pm and 3:00-4:30 pm on Jan 31, Feb 7, 14 and 21. If interested in donating, sponsoring, making a bowl or volunteering, contact Rich Holt at rholt@towson.edu or visit emptybowlsbaltimore.org for more information about how to get involved.

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