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‘Artists Against Hunger’ soup luncheon raises funds for local non-profits

Empty bowls fund-raisers are held all over the United States and the world to raise money and awareness to help fight hunger and food insecurity. The first program began with the vision of a high school teacher who wanted to support a local food drive. In 1990, the Michigan teacher came up with the idea of an “empty bowl” luncheon of soup, bread and water as a reminder of hunger in the world. It has now become a grassroots movement throughout the world.

On Saturday November 20, people in the local area will have a chance to be a part of this worldwide program to combat hunger by attending an empty soup bowl luncheon. Called “Artists Against Hunger,” the event will be held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Elzay Gallery of Art located on the campus of Ohio Northern University.

Artists Against Hunger is a fundraiser for several Hardin County non-profit organizations. Proceeds help support:
• Vista: Fight Poverty with Passion of Hardin County
• Neighborhood Center
• ReStore
• Love Inc.
• Heart Beat
• Helping Hands

Participants will pick out a handmade ceramic bowl, which will be filled with soup, and served with a beverage and other lunch items donated by area merchants.

“Our luncheon will be a little different from the original empty bowl concept,” said Steve Kiefer, coordinator for the event.

“But it will be a way that we can help combat hunger here at home.”

“And, what is really unique about our event,” added Brit Rowe, chair of the department of art & design at Ohio Northern, “is that participants will take their bowls home as reminders that there are people right here in our county who know what real hunger is like.”

The bowls are all handmade. About 130 of them were made by students and teachers in the Ada Exempted Village Schools, Kenton City Schools, and Upper Scioto Valley Schools. An additional 300 bowls were made by local artists, professors and students from Ohio Northern University.

“The bowls are works of art and something that anyone would be proud to own,” Rowe said.

The bowls will be washed and ready for filling when the participants arrive. The ceramic artworks also are food, microwave and dishwasher-safe—and are great gifts to start the holiday shopping season.

“The idea behind the ‘Artists Against Hunger’ luncheon is for everything to be donated and we greatly appreciate the support of our local businesses,” Kiefer said.

The businesses that are providing soup or other items for the luncheon are Viva Maria Italian Cuisine in Ada, Community Markets Stores, Save-a-Lot Food Stores, and Ascle Consulting.

“We want to thank Ohio Northern and the department of art & design for the use of its facility,” Kiefer said. “We greatly appreciate all of their support in making the luncheon a success. And a big thank you, too, to our participating merchants and to all of those who made the bowls. Hopefully, all the bowls will be filled on Saturday.”

The 2010–11 academic year marks the 50th anniversary of the Bachelor of Arts degree in art at Ohio Northern University. Growing from a single-discipline school, the department offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensions, three-dimensions and art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is also recognized in the second and third editions of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2010-11 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.