COBBLE HILL – Dozens of fourth graders at Success Academy Cobble Hill participated in the school’s first-ever Empty Bowls fundraiser to help feed hungry New Yorkers.
Students of Sarah Mallory’s art class and members of her art club started the project back in September, using the pinch pot method to handcraft food-safe ceramic bowls and glazing them in the art room’s kiln. The hardworking students, and some faculty, created 215 colorful bowls which they sold for $5 each at a potluck lunch Wednesday afternoon. All funds raised from the sales of the bowls will benefit Food Bank For New York City.
“The way that the event works is you can come and buy a kid-made or staff-made ceramic bowl to eat out of for $5,” Mallory explained. “All the money that we raise from the artwork sales is going to go to Food Bank For NYC.” The school also collected non-perishable food items for the organization at the event.
The Empty Bowls program was founded in Michigan in the early 1990s by artist/educator couple, John Hartom and Lisa Blackburn, and their high school students. Empty Bowls is an annual event in which potters and ceramic artists create a variety of bowls to sell to raise funds for local organizations dedicated to addressing food insecurity. Read about two other Empty Bowls events happening this Saturday in Brooklyn here.
“I’ve seen the project done before and I was like, ‘We have a kiln. I want to do this at my school,'” Mallory added. She has taught at Success Academy for four years. “I’m really, really interested in having art events and art experiences for our kids that are not just like a gallery simulation. I want them to know that art has a long history, and a contemporary practice, of having a social mission…it doesn’t just exist framed on a wall.”
“I made about nine or ten bowls,” eight-year-old fourth-grader Marissa King said while eating oatmeal out of her newly purchased bowl. “First when I started out making the bowls they were terrible, and then when I started making them more they turned out much better.”
“I was making these bowls for my class and the community,” she continued. “They each cost $5, so the $5 goes into that box and goes to Food Bank NYC. If many people buy these bowls we’ll have a lot of money for Food Bank NYC.”
Eight-year-old Ella Isik made about eight bowls for the event. “We made these bowls and all the money we get we’re going to give to Food Bank. The Food Bank gives food to people who don’t have food,” she said.
“She loves art so much and was so excited about it so I wanted to be a part of it,” said Isik’s mom, Tara Marlovits, who made a turkey chili for the potluck lunch. “It’s so great for the kids and Ms. Mallory did an excellent job preparing them—that their artwork would be sold and that they’re doing it for a cause that’s worthwhile—so that I feel like they really understood the goal of the project,” she added. “It’s a great event and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
Along with being creative and having a good time, Success Academy’s Director of Communications Anne Michaud noted that the event taught the students a valuable lesson. “I think it’s a very special event because one of the priorities we have at Success Academy is to teach kids about moral character and this is one way that we can do it and also have it be really fun. I think it shows a great community here and I’m pleasantly surprised by how many parents were able to make it and how many great dishes they brought.”
“It was very fun. It was a joyful experience,” said nine-year-old Elias Rabinovich as he ate his mom’s chicken soup from a bowl of his own design. “We made these to donate to the food bank so that people with no food can get food…the food bank actually needs to buy the food so that they can give it to the homeless and people who don’t have kitchens,” he explained.
“It does make me happy to help people who don’t have a kitchen and can’t cook or people who don’t have a home,” Rabinovich added. “It feels good when you’re helping people.”
Congratulations to Ms. Mallory and her students who raised $685 at today’s event.