Empty Bowls event fills community through engagement

Erika Collborn, attendee, Tara McKnight, attendee, and Ginger Cross, attendee view student made bowls during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez

Erika Collborn, attendee, Tara McKnight, attendee, and Ginger Cross, attendee, view student made bowls during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Museum of Art at MSU on Oct. 10. Photo by Francisco Martinez

From the nationally crafted art pieces that symbolize hunger to the more than 1,000 bowls donated by the Wichita Falls community and to raise awareness for food insecurity in the community, the sixth annual Empty Bowls took place Oct. 10 at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art.

Tanya Gillen, Empty Bowls chair, said the engagement, support and donations for the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank from the “great crowd” encourages her every year.

“It takes a village to raise up the community, and this is a really important event that’s unique and accomplishes that. There’s nothing like it,” Gillen said. “I came the first year after I bought a ticket, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it, and I’ve been on the committee ever since.”

Like Gillen, Monica Wilkinson, Empty Bowls and Wichita Falls Area Food Bank chair, said it only took one visit to the event to spark her desire to help out. Along side the committee member’s efforts, students and community members go to the Fain Fine Arts art department and make bowls to donate for the event, and volunteers help run the event start to finish.

“With any event, volunteers are integral to have success,” Wilkinson said. “People really enjoy the event and enjoy helping out, and it gives the restaurants that sponsor the event exposure. “

The bowls represent the idea that some people might not have anything to put in their bowl at night, so those who bought a ticket were able to pick out a bowl to take home to think about those less fortunate in the community. All the money raised goes to the food bank for education programs. Tickets were $40 a piece, and in past years Gillen said most of the money is collected from donations.

Past events have raised between $65,000-$85,000, and while the final count for the event isn’t available yet, according to Mary Helen Maskill, community engagement manager of the WFMA, this year was “really successful and we feel like there were more people here this year.”

More than anything, Gillen said this event is meant to raise awareness for a significant portion of the community. According to the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, one in six area residents are food insecure, and that is the central focus of the event.

“Everybody thinks differently about hunger, and that is reflected in all the different pieces,” Gillen said. “I hope the community understands that the person next to you can be food insecure. We worked together even when thing didn’t go our way we stuck together as a team.”

Empty Bowls 1 from Bradley Wilson on Vimeo.

Empty Bowls 2 from Bradley Wilson on Vimeo.

Empty Bowls 3 from Bradley Wilson on Vimeo.

Empty Bowls 2017

The Silent Auction, apart of Empty Bowls Gallery Reception, was right in the front of Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU so that different people who attended could bid on the bowls that artists submitted. Photo by Rachel Johnson
The Silent Auction, apart of Empty Bowls Gallery Reception, was right in the front of Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU so that different people who attended could bid on the bowls that artists submitted. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Anne-Marie Williamson, artist in Empty Bowls, and Lee Williamson, her son, look at the other bowls that were entered into the Empty Bowls Gallery Oct. 5 before the juror announces the winner of the competition. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Anne-Marie Williamson, artist in Empty Bowls, and Lee Williamson, her son, look at the other bowls that were entered into the Empty Bowls Gallery Oct. 5 before the juror announces the winner of the competition. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Alberto Veronica, creator of "Peachy Bowl" piece, admires other artist's bowls during the Empty Bowls Gallery in the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Oct. 5. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Alberto Veronica, creator of "Peachy Bowl" piece, admires other artist's bowls during the Empty Bowls Gallery in the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Oct. 5. Photo by Rachel Johnson
People look at the different bowls created by different artists at the Empty Bowls Gallery Reception held at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Oct. 5. Photo by Rachel Johnson
People look at the different bowls created by different artists at the Empty Bowls Gallery Reception held at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Oct. 5. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Anne-Marie Williamson, artist in Empty Bowls, and Lee Williamson, her son, look at the other bowls that were entered into the Empty Bowls Gallery Oct. 5 before the juror announces the winner of the competition. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Anne-Marie Williamson, artist in Empty Bowls, and Lee Williamson, her son, look at the other bowls that were entered into the Empty Bowls Gallery Oct. 5 before the juror announces the winner of the competition. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Monica Wilkinson, gallery chairperson for Empty Bowls, gives a introduction to the Empty Bowls Juror Kelly O'Briant before O'Briant annouced the top three winners and her two honorable mentions. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Monica Wilkinson, gallery chairperson for Empty Bowls, gives a introduction to the Empty Bowls Juror Kelly O'Briant before O'Briant annouced the top three winners and her two honorable mentions. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Empty Bowls Juror Kelly O'Briant announces the third place winner, a piece titled 'Altered Plate V' by artist Gratia Brown, at the Empty Bowls Gallery Reception in the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Oct. 5. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Empty Bowls Juror Kelly O'Briant announces the third place winner, a piece titled 'Altered Plate V' by artist Gratia Brown, at the Empty Bowls Gallery Reception in the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU Oct. 5. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Kelly O'Briant, assistant professor of ceramics at the University of Dallas, announces the award-winning entries at the opening for Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Kelly O'Briant, assistant professor of ceramics at the University of Dallas, announces the award-winning entries at the opening for Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Kelly O'Briant, assistant professor of ceramics at the University of Dallas, announces the award-winning entries at the opening for Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Kelly O'Briant, assistant professor of ceramics at the University of Dallas, announces the award-winning entries at the opening for Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art. Photo by Bradley Wilson
Anne-Marie Williamson, artist in Empty Bowls, and Lee Williamson, her son, look at the other bowls that were entered into the Empty Bowls Gallery Oct. 5 before the juror announces the winner of the competition. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Anne-Marie Williamson, artist in Empty Bowls, and Lee Williamson, her son, look at the other bowls that were entered into the Empty Bowls Gallery Oct. 5 before the juror announces the winner of the competition. Photo by Rachel Johnson
Leesa Wachsman, attendee, enjoys a bowl of chili while Letha Stiles, Market Street vendor, makes conversation with Wachsman while she eats during Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Leesa Wachsman, attendee, enjoys a bowl of chili while Letha Stiles, Market Street vendor, makes conversation with Wachsman while she eats during Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Leesa Wachsman, attendee, asks questions about the catering business to Sal Ramirez, Olive Garden vendor, and Loni Ramirez, Olive Garden vendor, during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Leesa Wachsman, attendee, asks questions about the catering business to Sal Ramirez, Olive Garden vendor, and Loni Ramirez, Olive Garden vendor, during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Attendees look at the gallery during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Attendees look at the gallery during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Attendees check-out at the front desk during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Attendees check-out at the front desk during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
People enter bids in the silent auction during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
People enter bids in the silent auction during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Outdoor exhibit of MSU donated bowls at Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Outdoor exhibit of MSU donated bowls at Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
D'Ann Delcoure, 8th Street Coffee House vendor, collects her student made bowl during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
D'Ann Delcoure, 8th Street Coffee House vendor, collects her student made bowl during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct. 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Outdoor exhibit of MSU donated bowls at Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Outdoor exhibit of MSU donated bowls at Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Erika Collborn, attendee, Tara McKnight, attendee, and Ginger Cross, attendee view student made bowls during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Erika Collborn, attendee, Tara McKnight, attendee, and Ginger Cross, attendee view student made bowls during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Outdoor exhibit of MSU donated bowls at Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Outdoor exhibit of MSU donated bowls at Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Tanya Gillen, 2nd vice chair for Wichita Falls food bank, sorts through the student made bowl during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Tanya Gillen, 2nd vice chair for Wichita Falls food bank, sorts through the student made bowl during the Empty Bowls of Wichita Falls at Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU, Oct 10, 2017. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Attendees of the Empty Bowls Event get on the trolly after visiting the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU to take them back to their parked cars, Oct. 10. Photo by Francisco Martinez
Attendees of the Empty Bowls Event get on the trolly after visiting the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU to take them back to their parked cars, Oct. 10. Photo by Francisco Martinez

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