MARTIN, Tenn. — David McBeth and his UT Martin ceramics students aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty to address the region’s hunger issues. For the 11th year, they will produce the bowls for the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser to support the hunger-relief efforts of We Care Ministries Inc. in Martin.
This year’s event is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 22, in the university’s Fine Arts Building. The event will be held in the Little Theatre and is sponsored by the university’s Department of Visual and Theatre Arts, Martin Area Ministerial Alliance churches and other community organizations.
For a $10 donation at the door, participants receive an original bowl made by McBeth, professor of art, and his students. Bowls are filled with homemade soup, and all proceeds go to We Care Ministries to help fight hunger. Tables and chairs will be set up in the Little Theatre so that participants can enjoy the meal.
Making the bowls is no small feat, starting with the clay. McBeth and a student recently spent some five hours producing clay to use for this year’s bowls. That’s just to make the clay – the real work begins when each individually handcrafted bowl is made.
“This year again we’re attempting to make 500 bowls,” McBeth said, adding, “I can form a bowl in about 20 seconds, but it’s nowhere near ready to use at that point.” He counts more than 12 “touches” along the way to produce each bowl. Students from his advanced ceramics class volunteer to help make the bowls.
Besides his ceramics students, university graphic design students are assisting with publicity and have created a poster that’s being distributed for display and also finding its way to social media. Student potters will also receive T-shirts bearing an original design that recognizes their work.
McBeth and his students know they are helping to address a real need.
“In Tennessee, one in six of Tennesseans has hunger issues,” he said. “They don’t know where their next meal’s coming from or if there’ll be a next meal. We’re blessed in West Tennessee to have We Care who provides a wonderful food relief (program) for that, but they need help.”
Persons wanting to support Empty Bowls but not needing another bowl are encouraged to make donations for hunger relief and then donate their bowls to a women’s shelter or other organization.
POSTER CREDIT – UT Martin graphic design students.