This year’s Empty Bowl Project once again brought a sold-out crowd to the Akron Art Museum to enjoy functional art (a handmade bowl) and soup and desserts from local restaurants, with proceeds benefiting a food-based charity.
The “empty bowl” concept is not a new one, says Michael Martell, who co-owns Zeber-Martell Gallery and Clay Studio in the Northside neighborhood, along with his wife, Claudia Zeber-Martell. “We’re functional potters, so we thought this was a good fit for being involved in the community,” he says.
Zeber-Martell often leverages art to raise awareness for causes, like hunger and recovery. For this event, the participating restaurants donated their soups and desserts and Zeber-Martell donated its hand-crafted bowls. All the money raised goes directly to the Good Samaritan Hunger Center.
And the Empty Bowl Project proves to be one of the studio’s most popular, as the quick sellout attests. Martell says this year’s event sold out in a day and a half with more than 200 tickets purchased.
As Zeber-Martell’s roots grow deeper in Akron, Martell says he and his wife have become closer to social causes. “We’re traveling less now, and we’re more invested in the community.” he adds.