Art Students Create Clay Contributions to Annual Empty Bowls Event
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (November 28, 2017) Art classes at Mohave Middle School and Coronado High School have been working feverishly the past few weeks to create clay bowls for the annual Alli Ortega Empty Bowls fundraiser taking place tomorrow at Scottsdale Community College (SCC). Locally, Empty Bowls raises money, through Scottsdale Community Partners, for Vista del Camino, a city of Scottsdale social services program.
Former Scottsdale Unified School District fine arts academic coach Janet Blum and a neighbor who then worked at SCC were instrumental in founding the local Empty Bowls event in the 1990s. Blum says her Coronado Art Club students wanted to find a way to give back to the community, and chose Vista del Camino. “We raised about $700 the first year, but over time, as this event evolved and gathered more support, it has grown into this great community undertaking that has probably donated about $100,000 to Vista del Camino over the years.”
Blum retired at the end of the last school year, but says one thing she can’t give up is her involvement with Empty Bowls. She’s been back in the classroom in recent weeks at Coronado and Mohave, conducting workshops for art students on the different ways of making a ceramic bowl and explaining how the bowls’ sale supports city residents in need.
Mohave art teacher Jordan Ray says a community outreach project such as Empty Bowls is a good undertaking for middle school students. “It’s not something they think about, so to make art for a reason other than ‘just because’ or ‘because I like it’ and to make it for a specific purpose – and that purpose is giving – it’s really interesting to see their brains change as a result.”
Cara McGraw is in her first year of teaching art at Coronado. She welcomed Blum into her classroom, and she, too, says students have gotten a lot out of the project, personally and artistically. “I was a little hesitant, being a new teacher and taking it on, but with her help and her coming in, it’s been a good surprise.”
Nicolas Robinson, a junior in McGraw’s Studio Art I class, agrees. “It feels good to do something not just for fun. It has a purpose, and this will actually help someone.”