Empty Bowls marks 'golden' 18th year

April 8, 2024
2024 Empty Bowls promotional artwork by Desiree Logan.
2024 Empty Bowls promotional artwork by Desiree Logan.

M State will be serving up its 18th annual Empty Bowls fundraiser on Thursday, April 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Legacy Hall, on the college’s Fergus Falls campus.

“It is the ‘Golden Empty Bowls’ this year, as it’s on April 18 and it’s our 18th year,” explains Lori Charest, M State ceramics instructor and Empty Bowls organizer. “Proceeds will once again go to the Fergus Falls Salvation Army Food Program. Over the past 17 years, Empty Bowls has generated $77,968 in donations! Last year’s event alone raised $6,663. We’re so pleased and proud of the generosity of our community.”

Hosted by the college’s Fine Arts Department, the local fundraiser is one of many held worldwide as part of the international Empty Bowls project. The project pairs artisan-made ceramic bowls with local food-related charities to fight hunger and celebrate the art of giving. 

For a suggested donation of $20, Empty Bowls-goers in Fergus Falls can select a one-of-a-kind ceramic bowl, have it filled with hot soup for lunch, and then bring it home with them to keep. This year’s soup is being provided by Twist’d Café; diners can choose between Chicken Wild Rice or a vegan option. There will also be bread by Falls Baking Company, and SoapWerks has donated small handmade soaps as event favors. 

Several M State student volunteers will be helping during the event – serving food, collecting donations and washing dishes – while others have already been involved, having joined other artisan volunteers for the “Bowl-A-Thon” on February 23. The artists got together at M State to handcraft about 200 ceramic bowls, with some also returning the next day to help trim them. 

“It is always such a fun day to get together and make pottery,” says Charest. 

The bowls were later glazed and fired by Charest, her students and other helpers. Including another 250-300 bowls that were left over from past Empty Bowls events, there will be 450-500 bowls for people to choose from this year, including a few “extra special” ones painted by artists Jenny Field and Maren Kostrzewski, according to Charest.

People who visit the campus for Empty Bowls are invited to also walk through the public art galleries and hallways to take in the sprawling 2024 Invitational Art exhibition, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary and features a wide range of original works by more than 70 area artists.