Ceramics Students Turn Art Into Action

Students in Upper School Art Teacher Brooke Williams’ class experienced what it’s like for art to make a difference in the community, even beyond the usual aesthetic contributions of beauty and delight. They created gorgeous bowls that were donated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, which sold them at Kiener Plaza in downtown St. Louis during the Festival of Lights on November 20. Local students, artists, and community members come together to provide one-of-a-kind pieces that go beyond enhancing their purchasers’ homes.

“It’s a project the School has been doing for a while and was unfortunately on hold for the past year due to the pandemic,” Williams said. “We talk about using art to give back to the community, and we discuss hunger and food insecurity.” The lessons clearly go far deeper than the wheel-throwing unit for ceramics students.

After the bowls are created, they are donated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank, who displays them at the Festival of Lights. Visitors can purchase these beautiful works of art, keeping them as reminders of all the empty bowls in the world. When it’s not a pandemic, a simple meal of soup and bread is served, and hunger education components are shared.

“What is left after a meal?” Williams asked. “An empty bowl. Across the world, there are people who have only the empty bowl and not the meal.” Here in the Missouri-Illinois bi-state region, hunger impacts one out of every six people.

Thanks to the efforts of this wonderful initiative, the St. Louis Area Foodbank reported that they raised $1,186 during the Festival of Lights, which translates to 4,744 meals. “We can’t thank you enough for your participation, and we hope to work together again next year,” said Olivia Klockenkemper, Philanthropy Coordinator at St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Great job, artist-activists! You made a difference for many this holiday season!