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Empty Bowl project feeds community needs 


The ECAS and Visual Arts programs continued a Viterbo tradition by holding their annual Empty Bowl Project on Friday, December 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A Christmas Market was open a week prior to the Empty Bowl Project that ran from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. daily in the Fine Arts Center third floor gallery. The Christmas Market was also open on the day of the Empty Bowl Project. A variety of art was available for sale in the Christmas Market. 


The Empty Bowl Project is also a fundraiser. Sherri Lisota, art professor and faculty member in ECAS, has been part of this project for many years. She explains, “The Empty Bowl Project is a project that we have been doing each year for over 10 years. Although we took a pause during COVID, obviously. So, this is our second year back after COVID and it is an annual fundraiser that takes place all semester long and cumulates this year on Friday, December 1. Students, faculty, and community members come and make ceramic bowls and they learn how to throw them, or hand build them. And then we fire them and glaze them and then we set them all out and people can come and buy a ceramic handmade bowl for $10. Then the faculty makes all kinds of chili, soups, and condiments for that and we have a day where people come and buy a bowl, come down the hall, and they have a meal. So, it’s a great fundraiser, the money goes to good causes.” 


Lisota continues, “It probably has been going on since 2005 … The reason we do it is because it combines a way of making artwork and invites the community to come. So, we did workshops on Monday and Wednesday nights for the community or campus community to come and help make bowl. So, making art for a good cause.” As the community and students have thrown or handmade bowls for the project, many bowls have been fired and glazed in preparation for it.  


Dan Stokes, ceramics instructor, has also experienced many years of The Empty Bowl Project along with preparing for it.  Stokes explains the hardest part of the event: “Making the bowl, yeah. At least this time it was. Usually it’s setting everything up.” His favorite part, though, is “Eating the chili. It is really good food.” At the Empty Bowl Project, faculty members make fantastic soups and chilis for the students and community to eat.  


Even though preparing for the Empty Bowl Project is stressful, it was worth it in the end. Stokes explains how it felt to prepare for it: “I found out that 150 bowls are the minimum of what you need. Anything less than that you’re probably going to run out. It’s very stressful, nothing but the project for the past two weeks.” The Empty Bowl Project allows students, faculty, and the community to get together, share a meal, and donate money to good causes.  

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Gretchen Cortez, Arts and Entertainment Editor
I'm a 5th year senior from La Crosse Wisconsin. My major is Ethics, Culture, and Society with a focus in...
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