Art department faculty and students create bowls for Food Bank fundraiser
Contact: Nicole Boychuk, Intern 381-2741
Posted: 02/28/2006
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Faculty and students from The University of Texas-Pan American art department have been creating more than 300 ceramic bowls over the last several weeks to donate to Empty Bowls 2006, a fundraiser which will benefit the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley.

UTPA Professor Chris Leonard shows a young volunteer how to make a bowl using his hand as a form. Leonard and many other UTPA faculty members and students from the art department met Feb. 11 for a Make-A-Thon to create the bowls, which will be donated to Empty Bowls 2006, a fundraiser to benefit the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley.
"The UTPA faculty involvement has been overwhelmingly generous and one that shows a great degree of social consciousness," said Alicia Warner, multimedia specialist of the Food Bank.

A Make-a-Thon, which provided professors and students the opportunity to meet together to create bowls, was held Saturday, Feb. 11. After a week of firing the bowls, the artists met again to glaze and paint them.

Fred Spaulding, an assistant professor of art who is involved with the event, said the artists were encouraged to be as creative as possible in creating the bowls. Their final work will reflect a variety of textures, sizes and colors.

"The ceramic discipline of the art department is pleased to be able to function in a way that can directly impact the social quality of life in such a basic and humanitarian way," Spaulding said.

The Empty Bowls fundraiser is an effort to help the Food Bank raise enough money for their expansion and growth into the new Pharr headquarters. Professor Richard Hyslin, chair of the of art department, realizes the important role the Food Bank plays in the community, and he is pleased that both the faculty and students from his department can offer their creativity and talents to such a worthy cause.

Ramiro Paz, a UTPA graduate student and art instructor at Veteran's Middle School, helped contribute to the "Empty Bowls 2006" fundraiser by creating bowls. Paz and many other UTPA faculty and students created bowls Feb. 11 during a Make-A-Thon, which was held on the UTPA campus.
In addition to the bowls, the graphic design students, lead by professors Leila Hernandez and Robert Gilbert, were able to compete in a commemorative poster contest with students from Texas State Technical College. The winner, Denise Gonzalez, was one of Gilbert's students.

"Students need to realize the importance of their graphic design skills. We want to teach them how to use those skills and talents to help our community," said Hernandez. Gilbert agrees, adding that the "pro-bono aspect of the profession helps the students develop their self-image as designers."

The actual fundraiser will be hosted by Knapp Medical Center Conference Center in Weslaco Thursday, March 2 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Supporters who attend the event donate a minimum of $25 and receive a simple meal of soup, salad, and dessert, which will be donated by local restaurants. After the meal, they get to choose a hand-crafted bowl to take home as a reminder that there are always empty bowls in the Rio Grande Valley.

For more information on the fundraiser, contact Nadia Ochoa, resource development manager, at 956/682-8101, extension 31, or visit the Food Bank at 2601 W. Zinnia Ave. in McAllen.