Oakton’s Empty Bowls event, Dec. 3, to support local food pantries

Student Mack McKernan is shaping the bowl.
Des Plaines, Ill. (Nov. 15, 2022) – Community members are invited to enjoy a delicious meal and take home beautifully handcrafted bowls while supporting local food pantries at Oakton Community College’s upcoming Empty Bowls event. Since 2004, the event has raised more than $367,000 through the sale of 20,000 handmade bowls.

This year’s Empty Bowls event takes place Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oakton’s Des Plaines campus, 1600 E. Golf Road, in rooms 1606-1610. More than 1,200 handcrafted soup bowls will be available for purchase, many of which will make a great holiday gift while supporting a great cause.

Sponsored by Oakton’s Ceramics Club, Empty Bowls is part of a nonprofit, global movement that has raised awareness for local and worldwide hunger and millions of dollars for food banks, soup kitchens and other meal programs. This year, 100% of event proceeds will support the following organizations: Des Plaines Self-Help Closet and Pantry, Interfaith Action of Evanston, Maine Township Food Pantry, New Trier Township Food Pantry, Niles Township Food Pantry and Northfield Township Food Pantry.

“This is a wonderful chance to acquire inexpensive and unique gifts while supporting community food charities,” says Oakton Chair of Art and Design Lou Pierozzi, who also serves as an advisor for the Ceramics Club. “Volunteers have been working year-round to prepare for this annual event. I’m always moved by the dedication of our members who donate countless hours of their time for this great cause.”

Admission is free, but for a donation of just $16, participants are invited to choose and keep their favorite artwork made by local professional and student potters, watch how bowls are made from different materials, enjoy a simple lunch of soup and bread and listen to live music. Larger and unique art pieces will also be available at bargain prices, with all proceeds going to local food pantries. New this year, attendees will be able to watch ceramic and wood turners battle it out while creating artwork during the “Battle of the Bowls.”

While on campus, the attendees can view Pierzozzi’s most recent project, “The Eternal Guardian,” a monumental 16-feet high mixed-media sculpture. According to the artist, “The Eternal Guardian” represents a time between 2020 and 2022 when our country was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and political unrest.

“This large toy-like figure holds the best and worst of us in his hands. He acts as an impartial and emotionless judge for what we chose,” says Pierozzi.

Nathan Harpaz, the head of Oakton’s Koehnline Museum of Art, adds that the lengthy production of ‘The Eternal Guardian’ during the COVID years “echoes the struggle of today's artists to respond to the cultural consequences and the artistic survival during the pandemic.” The sculpture is on display now in the west corridor of Oakton’s Des Plaines campus main building, outside the art department.

For more information about the Empty Bowls event, contact emptybowls@oakton.edu or call 847-635-1699.