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2nd Annual ‘Artists Against Hunger’ soup luncheon and food drive raises funds for local non-profit

ImageNovember—The holiday season is a time to give thanks for what we have, and to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Each year at Ohio Northern University, opportunities exist to do just that.

On Saturday November 19, people from the local community will have a chance to be a part of a worldwide program to combat hunger by attending an empty soup bowl luncheon. Called “Artists Against Hunger,” the event will be held from 11a.m. until 2p.m. at the Wilson Art Center located on the campus of Ohio Northern.

New to this year’s event will be the addition of a food drive. To kick-off the Artists Against Hunger event, the university community will be invited to donate non-perishable food to the Back Pack Program throughout the month of November. Barrels will be located in the Wilson Art Center, the Elzay Gallery lobby, McIntosh Center lobby, and Lehr Memorial lobby.

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.

ONU’s Artists Against Hunger is a fund-raiser organized by the department of art & design and the ceramics program with proceeds benefiting the Hardin County Back Pack Program. It provides elementary students a back-pack of nutritious food to take home every week. The students are on free or reduced meal programs. Without the Back Pack Program, most of these children may not eat until they arrive at school.

People attending the luncheon will pick out a handmade ceramic bowl, which then 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 Mayumi Kiefer, coordinator for the event and a senior art/studio arts student.

“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 children and families right here in our county who know what real hunger is like.”

All the bowls are handmade. About 100 of them are made by students and teachers in the Ada Exempted Village Schools and Kenton City Schools. An additional 300 bowls are 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.

“We want to thank the students, the local businesses, Ohio Northern and the department of art & design for their support,” Kiefer said. “We greatly appreciate all of their time in making the luncheon and the food drive 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 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.