I am not going to even try to pass myself off as an art expert. For me, the highest expression of art begins and ends with “Dogs Playing Poker.’’
Even so, I am greatly enthused by an art event that will be held at the amphitheater in Carefree on Friday. The Sonoran Art League will hold its sixth annual Empty Bowls lunch from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The Empty Bowls program was started 16 years ago by a couple of Michigan artists who wanted to do their part to address a serious issue, hunger in America.
Based on the Census Bureau survey, USDA estimates that in 2000, 10.5 million U.S. households were “food insecure,’’ meaning that they did not have access to enough food to meet their basic needs.
Last year, the Sonoran Arts League lunch raised about $19,000. That is also the amount presented to the Desert Foothillls Food Bank. “Our mission statement says that 100 percent of the proceeds go to the food bank,’’ said league president Carol Perry, this year’s Empty Bowls chairperson. “By our rules, there is zero overhead.’’
Cave Creek artist Aron Frogge has been making bowls for the event since it started six years ago.
About 1,000 bowls will be available this year. For a minimum $15 donation, you can pick out the bowl you want and have lunch served in the bowl. The food is donated by Carefree Resort & Villas.
It’s a great deal. You get a great lunch, plus a piece of original artwork.
“Some people make it part of their Christmas shopping,’’ Perry said. “They’ll buy several bowls . And there are always a lot of generous people who will give us $100 for one bowl.’’
Frogge, 49, has been a fulltime artist since 1992, but art has been a lifelong interest. “I’ve been working with clay since Play-Dough,’’ she observed. “For me, Empty Bowls is just a wonderful way to give back to the community.’’
Unlike some of her art, Frogge says her contributions to Empty Bowls focuses more on function than form. “You have to be able to eat out of the bowls, after all.’’
That is not to say that the artists who participate don’t invest a considerable amount of artistic effort. They are artists, first and foremost, after all.
That is not to say that all bowls are created equal. For folks like Frogge, bowls are a familiar product. Other artists, painters, for example, have little experience making bowls.
But the spirit of the event seems to rule. “Even the ugliest bowls are picked,’’ Frogge said.
Of course, when you think about where the proceeds go, it’s hard to think of any bowl as anything less than a masterpiece.
I’d put them right up there with “Dogs Playing Poker.’’