Artist is longtime supporter of Empty Bowls campaign

Local artist supports Empty Bowls
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 9:14 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Neighbors Place is holding its 15th annual empty bowls event to help with food insecurity in the Wausau area. Artist Ron Hay has been participating since the start of the event and once again is offering his artwork for the cause.

Hay views himself as an artisan rather than an artist and wants his work to do more than just sit on a shelf. “More than art, it’s more like practical pottery. I like to think about people getting up in the morning and having cereal out of one of my bowls or drinking coffee out of one of my mugs,” he says.

People in the Wausau area have been long-time fans of Hay’s artwork. His bowls are especially sought-after during the event. “My mother is one of them, but people come looking for a specific color, a particular glaze to match the set that they already have, or maybe they want a different glaze, so people are always looking for the Ron Hay bowls,” said Neighbors Place Community Engagement Manager Elizabeth Robinson.

Hay was intrigued by the empty bowls campaign he saw in Stevens Point and when it came to Wausau, he was hooked, donating 100 bowls a year. He then upped the ante in 2020, “I started donating more when the pandemic started because there was a greater need for the food.”

Hay is now up to 300-500 bowls a year and says it brings happiness to people throughout the community, “It’s a good thing all around for the artists and the people.”

Elizabeth Robinson is a fan who doesn’t mind singing his praises. “I have these bowls at home and I love them,” she says.

The campaign includes a silent auction that goes until 5:00 pm Saturday, including gift baskets, experience packages, and of course, a set of Ron Hay bowls.

To find out more about the Empty Bowls campaign and silent auction, click here.