Every fall, Anne Mallory looks at the students in her ceramics and sculpture classes at Alta High and tells them one heartbreaking fact: Of the eight people sitting at your table, two came to school hungry today.
Every day, one in five children in Utah don’t know where they will find their next meal, according to Feeding America, a charity that networks food banks across the country. Every year, Alta art students work to help the Utah Food Bank by creating pottery bowls in Mallory’s class. They sell the bowls, along with donated soup, at Alta’s parent-teacher conference, then donate the proceeds to the Food Bank.
“I just think it’s a fun and easy activity to fundraise and get everybody involved,” said senior Jeni Jolley, who is president of Alta’s art club. “I wish there were more ways as an art club that we could do that. This is a good way because it is so cohesive.”
When giving the Empty Bowls assignments to her students, Mallory simply tells them to make a beautiful bowl that they would want to buy. The result is a collection of bowls of varying hues, sizes and shapes. Some are sculpted, some are thrown on a wheelall of them are made with love.
“It’s a really fun way to incorporate ceramics while addressing cultural issues,” Mallory said at Monday’s parent-teacher conference. “They can see a direct impact with what they do.” The art club has sponsored the Empty Bowls event for the last nine years, donating about $500 to the Food Bank last year alone.
Parents and students visited the art club’s table and display of bowls, buying one of four kinds of soup donated by the Olive Garden. Great Harvest also donated bread for the occasion. For all of the things Jolley could have been doing on Monday evening, there was nowhere else she’d have rather been than warming up crock-pots of soup, making change, and recruiting more customers for their efforts. “It feels good,” Jolley said.