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VWU to Host 23rd Annual Empty Bowls Benefit on April 2

Join the Ceramic Designers Association in supporting local charities that work to eliminate hunger

University News | March 16, 2023

The 23rd Annual Empty Bowls Charity Event will be held in Virginia Wesleyan University's CMAC in the Jane P. Batten Student Center on Sunday, April 2 from noon to 3 p.m. The event, organized locally by the Ceramic Designers Association (CDA), has been hosted by Virginia Wesleyan for 22 of the 23 years it has been in existence in the Coastal Virginia community.

The Empty Bowls project is an international grassroots movement held annually in many communities to help raise both money and awareness in the fight to end hunger. The very first local Empty Bowls Charity Dinner was in 1998 at Holy Family Catholic Church. Needing a larger venue, in March 1999, the event moved to Virginia Wesleyan for the first time, thanks to the efforts of VWU alumna Susan Alexander Mizell '80, and it has been hosted at VWU ever since.

Once again, handmade soup bowls crafted by local artists will be sold for $25 and $10 at the event. There will also be an Art Gallery Sale featuring pottery and art work donated by CDA members and other artists.

In addition to providing the venue, Virginia Wesleyan has supported Empty Bowls by providing volunteers and active participation from the campus community. VWU Professor of Art Phil Guilfoyle has been a vital part of the event since its inception.  This year, Guilfoyle hosted a "Bowl Roll" bowl-making session for members from CDA where 70 of the bowls that will be sold at this year's event were made. CDA members glazed those bowls and Guilfoyle fired them in the VWU gas kiln. In addition, he will personally contribute a dozen bowls that he has made, as he does every year. He has also performed potter wheel demonstrations at the event in the past and donated his works to the silent auction.

“We look forward to hosting Empty Bowls on our campus each year,” said Guilfoyle. “In addition to showcasing the talents of local artisans, the event brings people together to support local community organizations in raising awareness and money for combatting hunger.”

The event is free and open to the public. All proceeds will go to support local charities which include:

Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia — 16 million meals served in 2021
Judeo-Christian Outreach Center — 100,000 meals served in 2021
Help and Emergency Response Shelter (H.E.R.) — all meals in their two shelters
Oasis Social Ministries — 63,000 meals served in 2021
Samaritan House — 170,250 meals served in 2021
Union Mission — 348,000 meals served in 2021

According to CDA president Ginger Jenkot, $20,000 dollars was raised in 2022 and 100% was donated to the local charities listed above. More than $370,000 has been raised since CDA started this event, with almost 25,000 soup bowls made and donated.

The Ceramic Designers Association is a group of local ceramic artists and potters dedicated to clay. The diverse group of artists, from emerging potters to professionals, create works of art from the basic elements of earth and water. Their support and participation in local art shows, charitable events and workshops contribute to the cultural life of the Hampton Roads area.

Learn more about the 2023 Empty Bowls Benefit and the Ceramics Designers Association.