Empty Bowls

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Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger,[1] personalised by artists and art organisations on a community level. The money raised is donated to soup kitchens, food banks and other organisations fighting hunger locally.[2]

The promotion and growth of the project was originally managed by The Imagine/RENDER Group, a 501(c)3 organisation. Each community's events are independent. The project expands one group of concerned artists and students at a time, and events take place in many areas in the United States and Canada, often in conjunction with the United Nations sponsored World Food Day. Empty Bowls now supports food related charities around the world.

Charitable concept[edit]

Empty Bowls allows participating artists and groups to create and donate bowls, then serve a simple meal. In some communities, ceramic artists are joined by wood turners, glassblowers, fiber artists, metal smiths, painters, sculptors, and other artists and craftspeople. In most cases guests choose a bowl to use that day and to keep as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world.[3] The artists often work in conjunction with local restaurants, groceries, and kitchens to provide a variety of foods for the attendees to sample.[4]

Project development[edit]

This project was founded by Lisa Blackburn and art teacher John Hartom in 1990-91 when they joined a drive to raise charitable funds in Hartom's Michigan community.[5] His idea was to organize a charitable event to give artists and art students a way to make a personal difference. Hartom's students made ceramic bowls in their high school art classes. The finished products were then used as serving pieces for a fund-raising meal of soup and bread. Contributing guests kept the empty bowl. During the next year, Hartom and other participants developed this concept into the Empty Bowls project. The Imagine/RENDER Group, a 501(c)3 organization, was created to promote the project. During the first event, John decided to let the participants take the bowls home with them, and to think about all of the people in the world who were hungry (i.e. they had empty bowls.) Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).


  1. ^ BUCKLIN, KATE. "Empty Bowl dinner helping hungry neighbors in Putnam". The Bulletin. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  2. ^ Julie Hays. "How to make an impact on hunger". CNN. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  3. ^ Coffey, Denise. "Empty Bowls Fill Food Bank Coffers". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  4. ^ "Home". Empty Bowls. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  5. ^ "Empty Bowls". The Clay Connection. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  6. ^ "UVM Announcements & Events : University of Vermont". www.uvm.edu. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  7. ^ pwpadmin. "Empty Bowls Providence – RISD Academic Affairs". Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  8. ^ Staff reports. "Empty Bowls Project dinner in Putnam March 2". The Bulletin. Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  9. ^ "Houston Empty Bowls". Houston Food Bank.
  10. ^ "Empty Bowls - TC Roberson High School". Empty Bowls. 2021-12-17. Retrieved 2022-01-11.
  11. ^ Divilio, Dan. "Kent School Empty Bowls project supports food pantry". MyEasternShoreMD. Retrieved 2022-01-11.

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