Hub City Empty Bowls in Spartanburg, SC, Launches 2017 Program

Hub City Empty Bowls – an annual fundraiser that uses handmade pottery bowls to feed hungry Spartanburg citizens – has set the 2017 dates for its well-attended events. There will be three regularly scheduled bowl-making events: Saturday, July 15, 2017, at 10am-noon and 1-3pm in Spartanburg Art Museum’s pottery studio at Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC; Thursday, July 20, 2017, from 5-8pm at West Main Artists Co-Op, during ArtWalk; and Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, at 10am-noon and 1-3pm at Chapman Cultural Center. Soup Day will be Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, from 11am-4pm at Chapman Cultural Center. All events are free and family friendly.

Hub City Empty Bowls is a localized fundraiser inspired the international Empty Bowls decentralized program. Locally, the program’s spearhead Carolina Clay Artists coordinates public bowl-making sessions. At no charge, citizens of all ages are given supplies, tools, space, and instructions on how to make hand-shaped pottery bowls. Those unfinished bowls are left at the venue to be painted and fired by experienced potters. Bowls often made by children can be simple, primitive, and charming. Others made by experienced potters can be precise, intricate, and sophisticated.

With hundreds of bowls created by local citizens, Carolina Clay Artists then hosts Soup Day, an event where patrons receive the bowls – each for a $15 donation to TOTAL Ministries, a local charity that provides food and other resources to people in financial crisis. In addition to receiving bowls, the patrons can enjoy a meal of soup, bread, and tea donated by the community’s leading restaurants, hear live music, bid in a silent auction, and enjoy the fellowship and comradery of knowing they are helping to feed people in need. In 2016, the Carolina Clay Artists donated a record-breaking $33,000 to TOTAL Ministries.

“Coordinating Hub City Empty Bowls is a massive undertaking,” 2017 Chairman Bruce Bowyer said. “People want to know as soon as possible about our dates so they can plan accordingly. Some people come to all of the bowl-making sessions and Soup Day. Plus, by setting the dates early, we can better handle the large crowds of people who normally show up. It is not unusual for us to have several hundred people come to a bowl-making session. And come Soup Day, we’ll see more than a thousand.”

Despite the crowds, it is seldom anyone has to wait to make a bowl or enjoy Soup Day. Space, volunteers, and experience are plentiful enough to keep everyone engaged.

Carolina Clay Artists is a local group of hobbyist and professional potters who come together monthly to share ideas, hold workshops and demos, and tour pottery studios to see other artists’ work and learn new ideas. It is open to all who have an interest in learning and sharing about pottery. Annual dues are $35. Hub City Empty Bowls is the group’s annual charity fundraising event to help feed the hungry.

TOTAL Ministries got its start in 1982 as Project Eat. Founder Dannie Horne saw an unemployment rate of 9.7% and that many people in Spartanburg County were hungry. During the first 17 months of Project Eat’s existence, $190,000 of groceries were distributed in an effort to alleviate that problem. In 1983, TOTAL Ministries of Spartanburg County, Inc. was incorporated by 12 Spartanburg churches to carry on the work of Project Eat. Since then, additional emergency services have been added to the TOTAL mission in an effort to help those in need. For those in need, TOTAL can help with utility services, food, and medications.

Empty Bowls started in 1990 by Michigan art teacher John Hartom, who organized a charitable event to give his art students a way to make a personal difference in the lives of others in their community. Hartom’s students made pottery bowls in their high school art classes, and the finished products were then used as individual serving pieces for a fundraising meal of soup and bread. From that simple beginning, Empty Bowls has spread around the world, taking root in communities both small and large. Spartanburg had its first Empty Bowls program in 2009. All Empty Bowls efforts are locally based with all proceeds going to a local charity with a mission to alleviate hunger in its community. None of the money raised leaves the community. The lead agency, Carolina Clay Artists, donates all of its time and talents, and receives no monetary benefit. Locally, all proceeds go to TOTAL Ministries.

For more information about Hub City Empty Bowls, please visit online at (www.HubCityEmptyBowls.com) or call 864.706-3739 or 864/585-9167.

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