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Empty Bowls bowl making events coming up

Families and individuals alike had a blast creating bowls and other pieces of art to help raise money for the Empty Bowl fundraiser last year. (Photo by Jordan Willi)

With the eighth annual Empty Bowls event scheduled for Thursday, April 16, from 5-7 p.m. at the Community Commons in New Richmond, it is time for community members to volunteer their time to help create all the bowls that will be sold to benefit the New Richmond Food Shelf and the Happy Kids Backpack program.

“This event is a very big deal and it is a great opportunity for the community to get involved in one of the best fundraisers in our community that helps those in need,” said Cheryl Emerson, Director of Community Education for the New Richmond School District. “It is free and fun to make a handmade bowl and glaze it for it to be sold the night of the event, with all proceeds going to help the hungry in our community. It is a hands-on learning experience, social interaction and you might find you really like working with clay. … It makes you feel just a small part of something big and wonderful!”

The first of the two bowl making events is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New Richmond High School. Community members will get a chance to glace the bowls during an event on March 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the high school.

“It is always fun to hear from those who attend for the first time; they are amazed by the amount of bowls that are produced to be sold for a good cause, and they also learn about hunger in our community,” Emerson said. “They get excited and always want to help the next year. We love having over 800 people attend over that time period and participate in something that makes us all feel good, and that is helping others. Even a small contribution helps.”

The event is free and open to all skill levels, though it is prefered that participants be 14 or older, unless with a parent. Any bowl made is available for the maker of the bowl to purchase as well.

Last year, more than 500 bowls were made by Hillside, Paperjack and Starr Elementary fifth-graders, the high school ceramics class, middle school students, school staff and community members. Helping with the bowl making events once again will be Mark Lusardi, who teaches art in Minneapolis and is also a clay glaze chemist.

“Mark is going to help with the bowl making for the community once again this year, as well as doing some specialty bowls with local area artist/potters that can be sold during the silent auction,” Emerson said. “Mark has worked with us putting the pottery studio together at the Commons, as well as building up a base of classes that would excite all ages about working with clay. He has also been instrumental in helping us get clay donated by his employer, Continental Clay over the years.”

A few new events have been added to this year’s event including a raffle for a special quilt made with past Empty Bowls T-shirts, a cake walk and a special limited edition ornament (numbered and available for purchase) with a glaze that is also specially formulated for this year only.

Last year’s event raised over $20,000 to help the New Richmond Food Shelf and the Happy Kids Backpack program.

“I am continually amazed at the generosity of our community and I am sure I will be humbled by it again this year at our eighth annual empty bowls event,” Emerson said.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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