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Search The Fig Tree's stories of people who make a difference:

Global dimension revives art project

By Mary Stamp

For 20 years Gonzaga Preparatory School art teacher Frankie White had ceramics and sculpture students create bowls and then serve home-made soup.

Alex Barry and Frankie White

Frankie White, right, checks senior Alex Barry’s platter depicting medical work in Haiti.

Students, faculty, staff and parents donated $5 for a bowl of soup.  Then they took the bowls home to remind them of people who are hungry.  Donations went to Second Harvest network of food banks.

Frankie had heard about the Empty Bowls concept and learned there is an international organization with that name.  She adapted the idea and developed it independently in connection with Second Harvest.

Part of the experience was to make the bowl as a piece of art that communicates, and the other part was the hospitality of students serving the soup.

Frankie, however, took a break from that project the last two years, looking for a way to add a global dimension.  Scott Cooper, director of Parish Social Ministries of Catholic Charities, was seeking a new way to raise funds for Catholic Relief Services’ Rice Bowl program.

 “We wanted to take the idea of making bowls to the next level to educate students about poverty and hunger globally, as well as in Spokane,” Frankie said. 

Scott asked her to have students create bowls in the size, shape, imagery, symbolism, colors and designs of countries where Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Rice Bowl program serves. 

After they auction the bowls on E-bay, they will send funds to CRS Rice Bowl.  A percentage stays locally for grants to address food security in Eastern Washington.

The E-bay store on E. 29th Ave. at Lincoln Heights has set up a web page, photographed the bowls and offered them for bidding.

Catholic Relief Services sought an added dimension to its annual Lenten fund raiser that “would go beyond the perennial problem of tapping funds from the same people,” Scott said.  “Similarly, Gonzaga Prep students were often appealing to the same people with their fund raiser.”

Frankie, who has taught art there since 1981, said at its high point the Empty Bowls project produced 150 bowls.  It had dwindled to 85.

Scott talked with the students about the background of Catholic Relief Services. 

So each student chose a country where Catholic Relief Services works.  They did research about the countries to select colors, symbols and designs that represented CRS work there.

Frankie, a graduate of the Holy Names Academy in Spokane, earned a bachelor’s degree in art in 1974 and a master’s in art education in 1982, both at Gonzaga.

“I believe in the artist as a witness and encourage students to use art to promote spiritual beliefs,” said Frankie, a eucharistic minister at St. Aloysius Catholic Church.  “I hope students see that an artist can engage in artistic expression and use art as a springboard for prayer.”

She also leads a spring retreat, teaching photography as a way “to discover God’s beauty in the world around and capture God’s face in a moment that connects the artist with the divine.”

Frankie teaches painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, photography, computer graphics and a broad range of art.  Students can study four years of art.

For information, call 448-4777 or email fwhite@gprep.com.


Copyright © April 2013 - The Fig Tree