To the Editor:

I would like to publicly thank the New Milford Commission on the Arts for the financial support to continue, and expand, the national feed the hungry event called Empty Bowls to our extended community.

Two workshops were added this year for a total of four - two to three hours each for two weekends - on Jan. 5-6 and Jan. 12-13.

The money awarded to me was spent on supplies for 90 people, of assorted ages, to decorate 100 bowls.

Because of the generosity and civic mindedness of the commission, there was no charge to the public to take part in these events.

Decorating workshop participants included a diverse population: Gallery 25 members, local public and private school students and alumni, Girl Scouts, Loaves & Fishes volunteers and the mayor.

The workshop series encouraged the collaboration of the art, education, public and charitable communities. This strengthens the entire New Milford community.

I have observed that volunteers who decorate bowls develop an appreciation for the time, skill and patience needed to create professional quality functional pottery.

In the workshops, volunteers tell me that they have learned the artistic styles of under glaze application, including stamping, brushing and pouring. They were encouraged to try new techniques and color combinations.

I also asked the volunteers to consider the symbolism of Empty Bowls and feeding the hungry.

Participants say they enjoyed the camaraderie of making art in a communal setting.

Past evidence shows that bowl decorators become more invested in both the public art community and the movement to feed the hungry. Bowl painters have become supporters and participants in the Commission on the Arts and in other Gallery 25 programs.

Many of the bowl-decorating volunteers will attend the Empty Bowls event and take home the bowls they have decorated.

Nearly 300 people attended the 2018 Empty Bowl dinner and took home bowls.

In addition to this bowl decorating workshop series, several professional potters in the community have agreed to donate bowls.

The Connecticut Clay Artists will hold a bowl-a-thon to construct, fire and glaze more bowls.

In addition, students at Brookfield High School and Village Center for the Arts are committed to donating bowls.

Empty Bowls New Milford is scheduled to take place April 6 at St John’s Episcopal Church on Whittlesey Avenue.

For more information, call 860-350-6612 or visit, or to learn more about the commission, email

Paula Marian