SOUP STARS: Dishing up soup, and art, for a good cause

Published 9:27 pm Friday, February 1, 2013

BOWLED OVER: This is one of the soup bowls decorated by local artists for this year’s Soup-a-thon. The fundraiser supports both the Blind Center and River Walk Gallery and Arts Center in Washington.

River Walk Gallery and Arts Center and the Blind Center are teaming up once more for Soup-a-thon, a lunch-time fundraiser in which participants get not only a bowl of soup, but the bowl right along with it.

“You get to choose your bowl. There are (those with) different colors, words, detailed drawings,” said Valda Belyeu, a River Walk member. “Some are painted, some are dipped. They’re all different. There’s something for everybody.”

Eighteen artists pitched in to glaze the bowls, all of which were made by artist Milton Bland. Some of those artists are potters, most aren’t, but according to Belyeu, that didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for the project.

“Some do textile, are wood carvers and painters,” she said. “There’s a little learning curve there, but everyone just had the best time (decorating the bowls). It was a way to do something different to be creative.”

Those same artists are the cooks du jour, as well. On the menu are many different options for artist-crafted soups like crab bisque and Danny Sleeper’s famous chili, of which three gallons last year went fast, said Belyeu.

Belyeu described the unique fundraiser as a way to not only support the Blind Center and local arts and artists, but it’s a good way to get fed.

“It’s a nice community event where people can talk and sit with each other while they’re eating,” she said.

Organizers hope the event grows slowly but surely. Last year, the individually hand-decorated bowls numbered 100. This year, a larger crowd is anticipated and 150 bowls will be on hand to give away with the soup.

Belyeu said tickets are $20 for the handcrafted and hand-decorated bowl, soup, drink and dessert, and every ticket is an entry into a drawing for works donated by the artists. A silent auction of larger pieces will be held during the Soup-a-thon.

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Blind Center, with the Beaufort County Traditional Music Association members providing entertainment from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., but Belyeu said some diners might want to swing by on the early side.

“If you’re really picky about what bowl you get, you need to be there at 11,” she advised.

Tickets are on sale at River Walk Gallery and Arts Center, 139 W. Main St., Washington, 252-974-0400, and the Blind Center, 221 N. Harvey St., Washington, 252-946-6208.