Traverse City Record-Eagle

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March 17, 2014

Empty Bowls passes hands

TRAVERSE CITY— The Fresh Food Partnership passed its Empty Bowls to other hands, but participants shouldn’t notice any change.

“We’re following their template,” said event manager Lilly Nowicki of Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan, which recently took over the popular fundraising event after 12 years. “It seemed to work, and we don’t want to rock the boat too much.”

This year’s Empty Bowls takes place April 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hagerty Center in Traverse City. More than 700 turned out for the 2013 event, the Fresh Food Partnership’s last before the nonprofit organization closed its doors in fall of that year.

The annual event features a simple meal of bread and soup, along with entertainment and a silent auction. Participants choose a handcrafted bowl to take home as a reminder of the “empty bowls” — or hunger — in the area.

Area residents can try their hand at painting a bowl at an Empty Bowls Community Painting Party on Thursday at Blackbird Arts.

Everyone from artists to art novices, including students, can drop by the studio from 4:30 to 7 p.m., choose a bowl and paint their own design. Artists at the studio will fire the bowls in their kiln for donation to the Empty Bowls event.

The studio is participating in the event for the second year, said Blackbird Arts owner and educator Melissa Johnson, a former volunteer for the Fresh Food Partnership. She said she hopes to contribute 200 bowls through art events like the painting party, a February “Family Art Night” and art classes at area schools.

They’ll be among an estimated 800 bowls — from ceramic, metal and glass to paper mache, wood and fiber — donated by community members including Interlochen Arts Academy visual arts students and local woodturners. Bowl donations will be accepted through April 1 at Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan’s main office on South Airport Road. Goodwill operates the Food Rescue program.

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