A bowl painted by Mar Harrer. It is one of the 10 professionally painted bowls up for auction at the 13th annual Empty Bowls Project.

For its mission to stamp out and spread awareness of hunger in our community, local nonprofit United Food Bank of Plant City (UFB) will hold its 13th annual Empty Bowls Project on Saturday, November 11 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The event will take place in Plant City at Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum, located at 102 N. Palmer St., and McCall Park, located at 100 N. Collins St.

The UFB has conducted its Empty Bowls Project since 2010, inspired by the original project that was created in 1990 and went on to become a worldwide symbol of awareness. In that project, with the assistance of art students, bowls were handcrafted, and a simple lunch was served. The UFB’s project is structured in the same way.

“We have, by the way, 19 Hillsborough County schools participating … in making the small bowls that will be given with the donation of $10 to the food bank, and these student bowls are small reminders of ‘empty bowls’ that are not filled every day,” said Silvia Dodson, UFB board member and Empty Bowls coordinator.

With the $10 donation, you’ll receive a ticket not only for a student-made bowl but also a choice of one 16 oz. soup, two 8 oz. soups or four 4 oz. soups, plus crackers, fruit, water, a spoon, and napkins in a bag. Local churches and other organizations will provide the soups.

There will be 10 bowls painted by local professionals up for auction as well. Entertainment includes the Plant City Community Chorale, Larry Clark (a saxophonist and member of the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame) and Ace Jackson and the Jump Kings.

What’s more, the Empty Bowls Project will have a street painting show where students who took part in the UFB’s street painting workshop will use chalk to create their own designs on sidewalks. Those wanting to take part in the show must attend the workshop, which is going to be held from 9 a.m.-12 Noon on Saturday, October 28. However, if a student attended a previous workshop, then they don’t need to attend this one.

“We utilize the sidewalks on both the museum and the park to accommodate all the art students,” said Dodson. “Palmer Street, which runs in between the museum and the park, will be closed during the event to allow for safe pedestrian traffic to view the art and encourage walking through downtown.”

Led by professional street painter Janet Tombros, the workshop includes a PowerPoint presentation about the art form’s history, techniques and examples of pastel chalk masterpieces. Afterward will be hands-on instruction where Tombros helps the artists express the Empty Bowls theme of ‘Filling Hearts and Bowls’ and practice their designs for the show.

Please email applications for the workshop, due by Tuesday, October 17, to Becky Hartmann at bhartmann3@verizon.net. She can also be reached at 813-205-5436. It costs $1 or a donation of a can of soup to the UFB.

And of course, six sponsorship levels are available for the event: ‘Knife’ for $500, ‘Spoon’ for $1,000, ‘Fork’ for $2,500, ‘Bowl’ for $5,000, ‘Title Sponsor’ for $10,000 and ‘Presenting Sponsor’ for over $15,000. The benefits increase with each level, with ‘Knife’ giving sponsor recognition on event signage, whereas ‘Presenting Sponsor’ includes the sponsor’s logo on printed marketing materials and at the top of Empty Bowl T-shirts, a banner (provided by the sponsor) to display at the event, 12 tickets to the event and recognition at the event plus on signage, social media, printed materials and a newsletter.

All proceeds directly benefit the UFB.

For more information about UFB’s Empty Bowls Project, visit www.ufbpc.org/empty-bowls-project/. For additional sponsorship information or to make a donation, contact Mary Heysek at mheysek@ufbpc.org or 813-763-0625, ext. 5. To find the street painting workshop application and learn more, visit the website’s workshop section and click the application link or go to www.ufbpc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/2023-street-painting-application.pdf.

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Taylor Wells
Taylor Wells is a relatively recently hired news reporter for the Osprey Observer, having been with the paper only since October 8, 2018. Aside from writing articles, he helps edit and upload them to the Osprey Observer site, and is always available to help other staff members in his spare time. He graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and lives in Valrico.