In my college years as a Bonner Scholar, I found that one of my passions was working with organizations who promote major positive change in the community.

For four years, I worked on my college’s Empty Bowls event in North Carolina. During this time of leading and volunteering this event, my love for creating pottery and volunteering in the community became deeply seated as a personal obsession. I love being able to create works of art and bring joy to the community through service on this project.

After graduation, I returned home to Houston where I specifically sought out the Empty Bowls Houston event. I wanted to provide any support I could to an event which fulfills so many of my personal passions: love of the arts, the importance of the arts in the community, and the personal joy that comes with volunteering.

The Houston Food Bank services 18 counties in the Southeast Texas area, feeding 800,000 individuals each year. Along with their mission to fight hunger they have many services and programs to further improve the lives of people in the greater Houston area. The Empty Bowls Houston event in May is a collective effort of local artists who not only donate their one of a kind handmade bowls, they also donate their time to demonstrate at the event and engage with attendees. The donating artists range from young emerging artists to well-seasoned professionals, and they all work in different mediums such as ceramic, wood, glass or fiber. With more than 1,000 bowls donated each year by the local Houston artists, finding that favorite bowl can be an adventure for attendees! A majority of the bowls sell for $25, which enables the Houston Bank to provide 75 meals for our neighbors in need. ($1 = 3 meals!)

The 15th annual event will be held on Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, our amazing partner on this event. Admission to the event is free, and each bowl purchase includes soup lunch, live music in the garden, and lots of live demonstrations by artists, including potters, wood turners, mosaic artists and more.

For those that want first choice of the many beautiful bowls, there is a Preview Party the Friday evening before, May 17th from 6 p.m. to 8 pm.  For a $50 admission ticket purchased through the HFB website, attendees will enjoy light bites, beer and wine and a fun atmosphere with friends and artists – and a first look at the bowls and opportunity to make purchases!

This is a volunteer event, and 100% of the bowl purchases go to the Houston Food Bank and its mission to fill pantries and fill lives.

I hope you are able to join us this year, and experience such a wonderful event!

Samantha Oldham
Chair of the 15th annual Empty Bowls Houston

“I love being able to create works of art and bring joy to the community through service on this project.”