Larry Percy comes together with high school students to help others
Published 11:00 pm Friday, January 18, 2013
Art is the poetry that holds the rest of the subject matter together.
That’s how important art is to life, Troy University art professor Larry Percy told the art students at Pike County High School Friday morning.
“Art is life,” he said. “All subjects touch art.”
Percy was at the high school to turn the students on to the joys and power of art. And, he was there to do it with dirt — “very high class dirt.”
Percy is the “pottery” teacher at Troy University. He teaches students how to mold clay into art objects, some that are quite beautiful, others that might be lacking in beauty but are so amazingly incredible in a different kind of way.
Percy has been making pots for many years and he is committed to a project designed to feed the hungry, the Empty Bowls project.
“Empty Bowls actually started in a high school classroom much like yours,” Percy said. “Today, it is a worldwide effort to feed the hungry.”
For four years, Percy has been leading the pottery part of the Pike County Salvation Army’s Empty Bowls Luncheon, which supports the local Salvation Army’s food pantry that helps to feed the hungry in Pike County.
“We are so appreciative of all that Larry and his students do to make the Empty Bowls Luncheon such a great success each year,” said Kimberly May, Pike County Salvation Army director. “Each year we have bowls made by different groups and individuals and Larry and his students always contribute greatly to our Empty Bowls project.”
May said the Empty Bowls Luncheon is a major fundraiser for the local Salvation Army.
“Volunteers make and design clay bowls for the Empty Bowls Luncheon,” she said. “Tickets for the luncheon are $20 and, with a ticket, you get a bowl that you can fill with a variety of soups, stews and chili along with breads, desserts and tea. If you don’t want to fill your ceramic bowl, we have dinnerware bowls available.”
May said the Empty Bowls Luncheon is based on the soup kitchens that did, and still do, feed the hungry.
“There have been many times in our country’s history that soup lines were the only places where people could go to be fed,” she said. “There are still soup kitchens around, especially in large cities, but food pantries have helped meet the needs of the hungry in many areas.
“Some Empty Bowls luncheons only serve broth and water in order to give people a better understanding of what it was like to be in a soup line. Most of us don’t know what it’s like to be really hungry but there are those in our community who do know.”
May said there are very few days when there are not requests made at the food pantry at the Pike County Salvation Army Service Center on South Brundidge Street in Troy.
“There are many more people in our area who are in need of food than you would ever think,” she said. “We appreciate so much the efforts of the art students at Pike County High School to help us supply our food pantry and feed the hungry here at home.”
Carrie Rigdon, PCHS art instructor, said her students were excited to contribute to the Empty Bowls project and the get their hands “in the mud.”
“The students will make two bowls, one for the Empty Bowls Luncheon and one for themselves,” she said.
The students decorated “slabs” of “high quality clay” using beads, sticks, stones, shells and classroom “found” objects. Once the students were satisfied with their artwork, they used plastic bowls to form their clay bowls.
Rigdon said the bowls would be put outside to dry before being bisque-fired at the university.
The bowls will be glazed and fired again and then ready to be filled with soup or proudly displayed as works of art.
“The students will have about 60 bowls for the Empty Bowls Luncheon,” Rigdon said. “This is a great project for our students and we appreciate the opportunity be a part of it.
Percy said that making art in the classroom is an opportunity for the students to make a difference in the lives of others and help solve a social problem, that of hunger in the United States and hunger in their own backyard.
May thanked the PCHS art students for their support of the Empty Bowls project and said their bowls will be a great addition to the fundraiser.
“In addition to the students’ bowls, we’ll have bowls for auction that are made by county and city officials, local artists, community celebrities, university athletes and the storytellers at the 2013 Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival,” she said.
The 2013 Pike County Salvation Army Empty Bowls Luncheon will be during the lunch hours on Feb. 22 at Bush Memorial Baptist Church in Troy. Tickets will be available the first week of February at the Salvation Army Thrift Store and Service Center and the Colley Senior Complex in Troy.