(March 29, 2019) The Art League of Ocean City and Diakonia have teamed up again this year to fight hunger and it will culminate with the fifth annual Empty Bowl Soup Dinner at the Ocean City Center for the Arts, Friday, March 29, from 4:30-8:30 p.m.

Attendees can bring the bowls they made during classes held at the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street, or purchase one for $25.

“It’s a very simple dinner so that other people can simply eat,” Rina Thaler, executive director of the Art League, said. “People can come in, have dinner, purchase a bowl, and the restaurants have really gotten behind it this year. We’re going to have a great selection of soups.”


Evelyn Hartman, left, and Velda Henry, member of the Art League Board of Directors, serve soup during a previous Empty Bowl Soup Dinner at the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street.

Proceeds from the dinner will benefit Diakonia, a nonprofit based in West Ocean City that has been helping individuals and families in Worcester County and the Lower Shore for more than 40 years by providing shelter, food, clothing, and the resources to rebuild their lives. Proceeds also benefit the community programs of the Art League of Ocean City.

Last year, 200-300 bowls were made and the event raised approximately $10,000. In the five years the Art League and Diakonia have partnered on this project, the organizations have raised more than $39,000. This year, around 400 bowls were made in anticipation of the event. One hundred of them will be available for purchase during the dinner.

“People who have already made a bowl can come and have a dinner and have a fun night,” Thaler said. “The people who haven’t made bowls can still come out and pick out a bowl, have some soup and enjoy the evening and know they are helping a good cause.”

Eight restaurants will provide soup. Embers/BLU Crabhouse/MadFish will serve cream of crab and corn chowder; Off the Hook, corn and crab jalapeno bisque; Liquid Assets, Wagyu beef chili; Mother’s Cantina, roasted tomato; Ocean 13, chicken and dumpling; The Original Greene Turtle, beef chili; Seacrets, creamy tomato basil; and Sunset Grille, chicken tortilla.

“What we try to do at Diakonia is help people who don’t have anything or are food insecure. That’s such a large part of what we do,” Allyson Church, chair of Diakonia’s board of directors, said. “This is a great event for the community to support and enjoy the Art League at the same time.”

The dinner will feature live music by artists who perform during the Art Center’s Originals Only monthly event: Lily Carolina, DomtheGonzo, Josh Miller, Sad Napkin, and EyeCan’tSeeI’mDeaf.

A cash bar, a soup-to-go station, a 50/50 auction and live music will also be included. Guests are asked to keep the bowl as a reminder of all of the empty bowls in the world.

“We appreciate the Art League and our supporters that year after year support us in a big way,” Church said. “We can’t do the work that we do without [contributions] from the community.”

Sponsors for the 2019 Empty Bowl Project include Bayside Liquors, Buxy’s/Dry Dock 28, Dunes Manor Hotel, Embers/BLU Crab House/Mad Fish, Fager’s Island, Irish Penny Pub & Grill, Liquid Assets, Mother’s Cantina, Ocean 13, The Original Greene Turtle, West-O Bottle Shop, Seacrets, Sunset Grille, and Touch of Italy.

The cost of the dinner is $25 and includes soup, bread, soft drink and a handcrafted ceramic soup bowl. The event is free to attend for those who made a bowl during one of the classes. 

Guests can purchase an additional bowl of soup for $5. Seating is continuous from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Reservations are not required. The facility can accommodate seating for 100 guests at a time. Seating will be available on a first-come first-serve basis.

“It has been a great collaboration between Diakonia and the Art League of Ocean City … two nonprofits that are so different have been able to work together,” Thaler said. “The idea of creating art for a good cause is something that we are passionate about at the Art League. Art has a way of bringing people together but here we have the added benefit of supporting a good cause.”

The project was founded by Michigan residents Lisa Blackburn and art teacher John Hartom in 1990-91 when they joined a drive to raise charitable funds in their community. Hartom’s idea was to organize a charitable event to give artists and art students a way to make a personal difference.

For more information, visit www.artleagueofoceancity.org or call 410-524-9433.

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