BERLIN — Part art lesson and part charity fundraiser, Berlin Intermediate School (BIS) students participated in the 1st Annual Project Soup Bowl this week and managed to raise in excess of $5,000.
“It’s a wonderful example of students using art to benefit the community,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes.
Andes was on hand at BIS on Tuesday evening for the unveiling of the project. The event was the culmination of several months of work by students and faculty, who spent the fall and winter crafting homemade clay bowls in the school’s new kiln.
“It’s about 10 steps from beginning to end,” said art teacher Kathi Stevens of the process.
The new kiln was donated to the school this year by Stevens’ parents, John and Ann Rinck of Ocean Pines. Stevens and Natalee Palmer, the school’s other art teacher, wasted no time firing up the kiln, and every student at BIS completed an originally designed soup bowl in time for the project, as well as a duplicate for them to take home.
“The children made all of the bowls,” said Stevens.
Each bowl was entirely unique, as they varied in size and were independently decorated by each student. Several of them took on recognizable themes, including some sporting NFL team colors and logos.
Depending on size, each bowl cost between $5 and $20. Purchasing a bowl at the event allowed for a free serving of soup and there were deserts available as well.
Food for the project was donated by local restaurants. Contributors included Crack of Dawn Bakery, Panera Bread, Taylor’s, Osteria Fraschetti, La Hacienda, The Globe, DeNovo’s, Smith Island Cakes, Desserts by Rita, Cupcakes in Bloom, Yummy, Baked Desserts Café and Fractured Prune.
Besides the meal, guests were also treated to a fourth grade original opera based on Harriet Tubman as well as a visual arts display.
Stevens said that the main purpose for the project was “community outreach.” The $5,000 raised by the event will be split between re-supplying the school’s clay and glaze inventory and BIS Kids, a fund that helps students at the school with financial aid.
“It’s for children in school that are less fortunate,” said Palmer.
Andes reiterated his support for the event, which served the dual purpose of art education while helping fill a charity’s coffers.
“The Soup Bowl Project brings together our students, staff, and our community to make our place a great place to live,” he said.
Tamara Mills, coordinator of instruction for the public school system, also attended the project and was appreciative of the Board of Education’s support. Mills was appreciative of the trust the board placed in the BIS faculty. She promised that every safety precaution was followed. While students designed and eventually glazed the bowls, the actual firing in the kiln was handled by adults.
Though they were all part of a student art class, Stevens explained that the bowls sold were all carefully inspected before being put out and, unfortunately, not every bowl could be used.
“They had to be dinnerware safe,” she said
After the event, Palmer revealed out of the roughly 700 bowls created by students approximately 600 were sold.
“If you can get a kiln, look what a school can do,” she said.