ATTLEBORO — The community spirit to “fight hunger one bowl at a time” was alive and well at the inaugural community meal for Empty Bowls Attleboro Area at the YMCA on Sunday night.
More than 300 people gathered in the Y’s second-floor gymnasium where over 430 sculpted bowls, sitting on a row of tables reaching over half the length of the room, awaited the patrons.
Five local artists, as well as Attleboro High School and Bishop Feehan High School students sculpted the pottery, with 10 “sgraffito,” or carving artists and nearly 100 glazers, all contributing to the ceramic works of art that varied in color, shape, size and design.
The numerous choices of bowls had Kimberley Chirico of Attleboro perusing the length of tables five times before she chose the bowl she wanted.
Chirico was attracted to the blue and green color composition and the design of circles in the inside of the bowl, which she said reminded her of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry, Starry Night.”
“I think it’s amazing,” Chirico said of the event.
The shimmering bronze and sculpted ridges towards the base of one bowl caught the eye of Brittany Nicholson of Attleboro.
“I think it’s fantastic. I’ve never known Attleboro to do anything like this,” Nicholson said.
The concept of potters creating their artwork in which to offer a soup dinner for a ticket price was “beautifully simple” to Sarah Mott, a co-founder of Empty Bowls Attleboro Area.
Mott had heard of this type of event being held in California, and was further inspired several years ago by a similar artistic exhibition from students at the Massachusetts College of Art at the Attleboro Arts Museum.
But it was Mott’s discovery of an “astonishing fact” in the office of Attleboro YMCA CEO Robin McDonald that spurred her into action: A map on McDonald’s office wall revealed that 35 percent of downtown Attleboro residents live below the poverty line.
“When I learned of food insecurity, I said, ‘You know what? We can change this,’” Mott said. “The world seems full of problems that are unapproachable, but this is something we could do that would have a big impact locally.”
As well as being the event’s soup sponsors, Morin’s Hometown Bar & Grille and Russell Morin Catering & Events donated half a dozen soups, such as chicken rice, mushroom bisque and vegetable minestrone.
The amount raised at the event was not immediately available; however, 75 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Food N’ Friends food pantry and 25 percent will go towards the food needs of the YMCA.