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Professors Tupa, Leach and students once again working with Empty Bowls project

Two professors from the College of Fine Arts and some of their students are teaming up to once again participate in the 26th Empty Bowls project to help raise awareness about hunger in our area.

Division of Visual Arts Chair Dana Tupa and Assistant Professor for Visual Arts Tiffany Leach are leading student and faculty efforts by making ceramic bowls to donate to the annual Empty Bowls luncheon scheduled Nov. 14.

At the luncheon, a meager meal of soup and bread is served to attendees while hunger awareness is discussed from multiple perspectives. Guests keep the ceramic bowls as a reminder of hunger in the world and how each of us can help.

dana“Many local schools participate and we are proud to say that JU has been involved for the past 14 years,’’ Professor Tupa said. “We contributed more than 40 bowls for this year’s event and plan for JU student representatives from ceramics to attend.’’

The Empty Bowls project originated in Michigan and quickly spread throughout the United States as an art class project to raise funds for local food drives. For the past 13 years, JU ceramic students have worked with the Second Harvest Food Bank in raising awareness about hunger in the Jacksonville area.

New this year, the school has partnered with the Barnabas Center of Nassau County to expand and continue efforts in supporting the fight against hunger.

“I am most proud of the continued commitment Tiffany and I are able to generate for this event,’’ Professor Tupa said. “It bridges the gap between teacher and student because we are all working together in the production of bowls. Not only do students learn the value of their fortunes in life, they are able to offer assistance to other they may never meet in person. It really is a great event to be part of.’’

Student participants say they get satisfaction from helping in the community.

“I get a sense of fulfillment knowing I was able to contribute to a project that is helping people in need,’’ student Samuel Lopez said. “I learned that something small in giving back can go a long way even if it is not giving currency back to help somebody. To be able to give someone else a piece of myself in the work I did to create bowls is a good feeling.’’

Fellow student Sina Bennett agrees.

“I like doing Empty Bowls because it feels nice to give back to the community,’’ she said. “My bowls were porcelain with the blue slip designs on the rims. It is always fun to be a part of this project.’’

Tiffany Leach
Tiffany Leach

For Professor Leach, the reward is well worth the effort.

“As always, I am excited to have our students participate in the experience along with Dana and me,’’ she said. “It is rewarding as an educator to see students of all skill levels participate in an important cause like Empty Bowls within our community. The best part is for students to see how something they made can create awareness in the larger community.’’