Jazzy Philipson, Staff Writer – Thursday, March 23, the Lecanto High School [LHS] ceramics classes supported the Empty Bowls project led by the Community Food Bank of Citrus County [CFBCC] by donating their work to the cause. Ceramics teacher William Rubar has encouraged all of his classes to create multiple bowls per student throughout the 2016-17 school-year, collectively aggregating hundreds of clay bowls, each painted with a colorful glaze.
Rubar reported that this was not the first time he has required his classes to participate in Empty Bowls, as he believes they should partake in improving the community if at all possible.
“Every year I present the students with their first project, and that’s to help out the community,” said Rubar. “I give them a little lesson about helping the disenfranchised and then require each student to make five bowls. From the bowl, they can make a cup. From the cup, they can make a vase.”
Crystal River High School also participated in the Empty Bowls project last year, which inspired Rubar to get his students involved. The Citrus County Education Foundation gave a community grant award of $500 for materials to Rubar in order to make this project happen.
“I was asked what we could do as an academic community to work with the community at large,” said Rubar. “That’s when I thought of the Empty Bowls project.”
Executive Director of CFBCC Roger Ross visited Rubar and his students to accept the bowls and give a little insight on just how important and effective this project really is.
“Empty Bowls is a national project that was started by a national public relations firm in the means of creating an opportunity to raise money and draw attention to the needs to feed people,” said Ross.
Every year, CFBCC receives a copious amount of donations from donors large and small. They use this money to supply food to roughly 24,000 hungry and/or homeless people in Citrus County alone. Approximately six million pounds of food are distributed to shelters, agencies, churches, and soup kitchens each year.
“We use these bowls as gifts to our major donors to remind them that there are hungry people with empty bowls on their table,” said Ross. “There’s been a very positive reaction from our donors when they receive the bowls. These bowls will be a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the hungry in the community.”
LHS freshman Austin Yager is currently enrolled in his second year of ceramics, and has both hand-built and thrown [a process where clay is spun on a pottery wheel] ten bowls for the project.
“The process is getting the clay, wedging it, putting it on the wheel and going to work with your tools,” said Yager. “It was tough to get the hang of it at first, but it looks great after it is fired in the kiln and glazed. The satisfaction of being selfless and making something to give to someone else made me feel really good.”
Lecanto High’s Principal, Jason Koon, has heavily supported the Empty Bowls project whilst strongly believing that acknowledging the ceramics students’ hard work is highly important.
“My participation is more so than just support of the program,” said Koon. “I’d like exposure and positive press for our students and our art academy. I want our students to get the credit for their creativity and innovation pertaining to their ceramics.”
Koon hopes to see the school and CFBCC work together in the future.
“I feel like it’s an annual event at this point,” said Koon. “Year after year, it’s been good for our school and our students, and the community benefits from it greatly. We’ll definitely continue to support it.”