Annual 'Empty Bowls' sale by Deer Lakes students is focus of arts presentations

| Sunday, May 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Students at Deer Lakes High School are turning the creative tables on the age-old image of the starving artist.

Art students are focusing their talents on those in the community who, if not necessarily starving, can use a hand in putting food on their kitchen tables.

The tasty and visual results of those good works can be experienced from 6 to 8 p.m. May 15 at the annual “Empty Bowls” Soup Sale at the school, with proceeds going to West Deer Food Bank. More than $900 was raised last year.

Handmade bowls, filled with homemade soup, can be purchased for a donation of $5 for students and $10 for adults at the Family Consumer Science Suite, room 112.

It's being held in conjunction with “An Evening With the Arts,” featuring performances and creations by students in the Fine Arts and Industrial Arts Department, including photography, silk-screen, wood and metal projects, and artwork from kindergartners through 12th-graders.

A collaborative mural project, done with the high-school chorus, also will be seen. During the spring concert, the chorus performed John Lennon's “Imagine” while art students painted a two-panel mural in the style of Lennon's illustrations.

Art II and III students painted work interpreting the themes of “the creative process” and “creativity” onto ceiling tiles, which are to be installed.

Students fashioned large, cardboard sculptures representing an exclamation while other students created large, colorful plaster figures to be placed around the school.

Choral instructor Rebecca Henderson says students in grades 4 through 12 from the band, chorus and strings programs will perform solos and entertain in small and large ensembles throughout the building. The repertoire will range from American folk music to classical; jazz to a cappella, and modern arrangements of pop songs.

“One of the most satisfying aspects of this event is seeing how proud all the students are,” art teacher Christy Culp says. “It also gives administration and other faculty members the opportunity to see their students in a different light.”

Culp's hope for the evening is that students take a sense of civic responsibility, caring for their neighbors, “and learn the concept of artists using their talents to give to their communities.”

“Empty Bowls” remains a popular undertaking. “The first thing I hear from my students each year is, ‘When are we going to start the bowls?' “ Culp says.

Each year, the goal is to create 100 bowls. “This year, we created, through the pottery wheel and slab-construction methods, 107 bowls in one day. A group of 11 students were excused from classes for a day to meet this lofty goal,” Culp says. “They were so proud.”

Waiting for buyers this year are round bowls, square bowls, seashell bowls and many new glaze patterns and colors. “Our hope is that every time a person uses their bowl from the sale, they think of ‘Empty Bowls' and what it stands for. Hopefully, they might consider giving another donation to a food bank,” Culp says.

Junior Natalie Werner is philosophical about it. “Maybe there will be one less hungry family out there,” she says. “I love to create something that can be used in everyday life and will benefit more than just me.”

Werner made 19 bowls. “I really hope that there is somebody that likes every bowl I made,” she says.

Chrissy Sullivan, a junior, hopes people find her bowls as intriguing as she does when fashioning them. “I hope they appreciate all the work put into each one,” she adds. “I love using my imagination making different objects.”

Senior Sarah Bodnar enjoys crafting bowls with the clay.

“Bowls are my favorite thing to make,” she says. This is her third year participating in the program. “It's always a great turn out.”

Reva Butler hopes she is adding to the appeal of her bowls by painting them with “a happy color.”

“I personally like this project because there are so many people that benefit from the money we raise for the food bank. Not everyone has everything in the world that they need to survive,” Butler says.

“It's the best feeling to know that what I'm creating is going for a good cause,” junior Mohamed Al-Haddad says. “It is my best motivation for doing something like this.”

Senior Tom Handerhan says the “Empty Bowls” undertaking “has been a great experience showing the community what the art department is capable of both artistically and charitably.”

Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or

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