Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

Westfield State University Art Department to host Empty Bowls Project event to raise hunger awareness

CONTACT: Troy Watkins,, 413.572.5523

Westfield – The Westfield State University Art Department will host an Empty Bowls Project, a soup serving event, on May 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. in room 190 of the Catherine Dower Performing and Fine Arts Center, 715 Western Ave., Westfield.

For $10, participants can enjoy a meal of soup prepared by the University’s on-campus catering service, Westfield State Dining Services. The event will feature handmade clay bowls sold to raise money to promote awareness of hunger as an ongoing issue. Those who attend can also select a handmade bowl to take home as a reminder of the hunger epidemic facing students, the local community, and nationwide.

Tickets are $10, but the pricing is on a sliding scale, accounting for participants who may not be able to afford the $10 ticket and those who can afford to contribute more. The funds raised during the event will benefit the F.A.C.E.S (Fostering a Culture of Empowerment and Success) program at Westfield State.  F.A.C.E.S is an organization dedicated to supporting and empowering at-risk students to achieve their academic and career aspirations. The program serves current and former foster, homeless, or substitute care youth. The organization also provides affected students with access to stable housing, meals, and other basic needs in addition to financial, academic, and social/emotional aid.

The Empty Bowls Project is an international grass-roots organization established in 1990 dedicated to fighting hunger. Co-founded by artists Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom, the organization aims to raise awareness for the fight against hunger.

Acting upon a suggestion by Lamis Jarvinen, Ph.D., director of the Westfield State University Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity, the University’s Art Department Chair David Shapleigh took on the project. With Shapleigh’s support and leadership, Linda Siska, potter and adjunct professor of art, supervised the project in conjunction with her pottery course. Six sessions were held, inviting the campus community to make a bowl for the project. Some 150 bowls were created by approximately 50 individuals.

Musical entertainment for the event will be provided by courtesy of Andrew Bonacci, chair of the Music Department.

The event is open to the public. In addition to $10, attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the event for donation to Common Goods, a food pantry and resource center serving Westfield State students, faculty, and staff. Common Goods distributes a variety of non-perishable food items and personal care items at no cost and is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays, noon – 4 p.m., at the Second Congregational Church, 487 Western Ave., second floor, right-side wing.

Online registration for the event begins on April 16. For tickets and additional information visit the Westfield State University’s Empty Bowls Project at

Founded in 1839 by Horace Mann, Westfield State University is an education leader committed to providing every generation of students with a learning experience built on its founding principle as the first public co-educational college in America to offer an education without barrier to race, gender or economic status. This spirit of innovative thinking and social responsibility is forged in a curriculum of liberal arts and professional studies that creates a vital community of engaged learners who become confident, capable individuals prepared for leadership and service to society.

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