Empty Bowls inspires community service and outreach Reply

By Claire Crittendon & Sean Chase- Features Editor & 1851 Staff

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Professor Baldizar demonstrating different pottery techniques. Photo by Claire Crittendon.

Every Wednesday night at 8 p.m., Yamawaki ceramics studio is ablaze with clay, music and community. Founded four years ago, Empty Bowls is now a renowned club on campus. The club’s mission is to give back to those less fortunate. Each week, the club hand-crafts bowls for their main event, a fundraiser on March 27, 2020.

The event consists of selling dinner to fill student-crafted bowls to the Lasell and Auburndale community. For Lasell students, it costs $5 for a bowl and dinner, and $15 for anyone else. All of the proceeds go directly to the Centre Street Food Pantry, a non-profit in Newton.

The club set out goals to build from last year’s success, which saw the club raise roughly $2,700 from their event, as well as selling bowls at Lasell’s Connected Learning Symposium. Members of the club believe the Empty Bowls mission gives them an upper-hand in fundraising.

“We want people to support [Empty Bowls’] mission by using art to fight hunger in our community,” said Vice President sophomore Elliette Barrows. “Our big goal for the year is raising [at least] $3,000 from our event.”

Empty Bowls’ mission and their informal setup allows for anyone to get involved. Barrows points to the informal setup as an advantage because you’re allowed to attend one meeting or all of them – all that matters is people are buying into the mission and supporting those less fortunate. Although you can come and go as you please, many follow Barrows’ footsteps in continuing to be involved with the club because of the people.

“It’s not just a club to just have fun,” said sophomore Fayrn Malley. “[Although] it’s still fun, it’s also for someone else, you’re not just doing it for yourself.”

 

Malley is an example of Empty Bowls’ ability to welcome everyone with open arms. She noted that she was always into theater rather than studio art. While Malley was nervous when joining the club, she acknowledged the club took her in and made her feel welcome, “they really help you and show you how to make these bowls.”

In this club’s weekly meetings, members gather to make and glaze ceramic bowls. Some bowls are crafted on pottery wheels, while others are done by hand using different molds.

Professor Baldizar, the faculty advisor to Empty Bowls, said, “you don’t have to have any background in working with clay. We can teach you the skills.” Baldizar also said she’s “blown away by the creativity … generosity [and] the kindness of Lasell students.” She appreciates how this club draws together students from different majors.

 

“Art is always something that’s been very therapeutic for me,” said junior Charlotte Gitelman. Gitelman expressed how this club simultaneously allows her to support her community and herself.

President junior Mandolin Miller spoke to the energy of the room, saying, “whenever we
meet, the room is always filled with excitement and anticipation. We’re always thinking
about how to make our event better every year, and we’re always trying to get more involved and connected.”

Sophomore Anna King is serving as Empty Bowls’ Public Relations Manager. “We’re working for a great cause but we also try to make things really fun here, we play music in the evening. Some people are more involved in our event but some people just want to come, hang out, make a bowl and listen to some music and that’s fine too,” said King. “We like to say one bowl we sell for $10 at our event can actually support a family of four for a week. So even if you just come and make a bowl, you’re really making a huge difference.”

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