empty bowls projecT
~now in its 23rd year~
The Dripping Springs Empty Bowls Project has evolved over the past three decades to become the largest annual fundraiser for Helping Hands! The benefit accounts for 60% of Helping Hands' annual budget.
So how did the first fundraiser make it to tiny Dripping Springs in 1997? Bill and Bridget Hauser, owners of Sunset Canyon Pottery, were familiar with other national empty bowl projects and decided it was something they wanted to do for their community. Dripping Springs Helping Hands had already been operating for 11 years when the Hausers saw the need to support the food pantry. It was a natural fit for Bill and Bridget. They produced beautiful ceramic bowls and the bowls needed filling.
In the beginning, Bill and Bridget planned every detail, cooked all the soups, handcrafted hundreds of bowls and hosted the event at their studio gallery, Sunset Canyon Pottery. Even in the early years, they enlisted graphic artists, Mimi Barnes and Kat Sherby, to design attractive posters to lure attendees.
As the event took hold, the Hausers recruited restaurant owners Lisa and Emmett Fox who today own ASTI's. Lisa and Emmet were successful in persuading other chefs in Austin to support the food pantry in Dripping Springs. Gradually, more local leaders came on board to help guide the project as it continued to grow. By the time the Hausers retired in 2016, they, with help from The Art Garage, were making 1,000 bowls each year for the event! And that number represented the Empty Bowls Project's growing popularity in the community.
Sunset Canyon Pottery was home to the event for 17 years. With parking and space issues, the event was moved to Mercer Street Dance Hall for the next two years. It was an ideal location that attracted more people and engaged downtown business. However, inclement weather became an unpredictable concern and pouring rains on the day of the event caused a reduction in attendance.
In search of a new location, the Dripping Springs Ranch Park had all the elements needed: indoor seating, ample space, ample parking and even a commercial kitchen! Since 2017, the Park has been home to the event that is still so dearly loved by the community.
The Empty Bowls Project takes a turn in history this year as it will be delivered to patrons through an engaging virtual format. We expect that it will still be just as successful, simply different.
We hope you will engage with us! Be a part of the Empty Bowls Project HOME EDITION and enjoy the show!